One Little Indian – 2005 - 46 minutes

Husband and wife Stephen and Sherilyn Collins, aka Texan duo Deadman, have done a gorgeous job on 'Our Eternal Ghosts'. This is their second album, following on 2001's 'Paramour', and it is helmed by renowned producer/engineer Mark Howard. With the people that he has worked with in the past including Lucinda Williams, Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris and Daniel Lanois, it's no surprise that 'Our Eternal Ghosts' is steeped in the atmospheric sounds of Americana, with brushed drums and both pedal and lap steel featuring heavily.

At times, especially on 'When the Music's Not Forgotten', Sherilyn Collins has that Emmylou twang to her voice but it's the blend of her ethereal tones with Stephen's more deadpan vocals that really bring these songs alive. This is country-folk, viewed through the prism of church and gospel music, with both explicit ('Brother John', 'Absalom! Absalom!', bible verses on the inlay card) and implicit ('When the Music's Not Forgotten', 'Brother') references to biblical times. But music as hauntingly beautiful as that on 'Our Eternal Ghosts' transcends any religious differences and Deadman don't fit into any fundamental Christian clappy-happy stereotypes. 

There's an enjoyably sinister edge to several tracks here - edgy 'Werewolves' and the elegiac 'Sad Ole' Geronimo' - while the gospel touches and piano on the Ray Charles-dedicated 'Love Will Guide You Home' are suitably uplifting. Although the tempo doesn't vary much throughout the album, these mood contrasts ensure that it never lags. Put 'Our Eternal Ghosts' in the stereo and press repeat. You won't regret it.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: When The Music's Not Forgotten - Won't Be Long - Brother John - Werewolves - The Monsters Of Goya - Sad Ole Geronimo - Slow Dance - Absalom! Absalom! - Love Will Guide You Home - Brother John