Around the Horn

Souled American is no ordinary band. Here’s what they sound like: Suppose it is 2 a.m., and these pictures — sketches, really — keep going through your mind. They’re sketches of life in a run-down house somewhere in the country; they seem to cry out for music.

Are you a musician? Not really. But you did listen to lots of country music once. And you and your friends seem to have stumbled on some musical instruments. You can’t quite play them, but maybe that helps. With no conventional musical notions standing in your way, there’s nothing to stop you from turning your mental sketches directly into sound.

And that — in a mental sketch of my own — might be Souled American, an unclassifiable (country? alternative? alternative/country?) band from Chicago, weighing in here with their second album, Around the Horn. They don’t always seem to play the right notes: Sometimes they play notes that only point to the right notes. Meanwhile, the snow keeps coming through their radio. Or anyway that’s what they sing, with irresistibly deadpan charm, in ”Six Feet of Snow.”

Their music too is irresistibly deadpan, sounding not at all inept, but simply homemade. Maybe they’re telling us that traditional country life has now declined into something threadbare and dim. They make more sense than many bands with a thousand times more technique. B+

Around the Horn
  • Music