Dark Hollow Bottling Company is back with a sophomore album just as good as their fine 2010 debut, though weighed down a bit by some of the same missteps.
The bluegrass quintet ranks with Jerks of Grass and The Stowaways as a band to see live, though for a different reason. It’s the camaraderie, not the virtuosity, that makes Dark Hollow great. These five guys know their way up and down the fretboard, but most of the charm lies in their devil-may-care harmonizing and earnest effort to keep up with one another.
There’s a thrown-together, easygoing feeling to their best songs, like “Nature Girl,” from Gone Gone Gone. On American Ghosts, “Sold” has that vibe, with its slow, sing-along chorus. The old-time jazzy “Wingtip Nightmare” (featuring Dave Noyes on trombone) and up-tempo stomper “American Dream” are a lot of fun.
But as happened on Gone, the album drags on a couple cuts, like the overlong “Marrow.” Chances are you won’t notice or care too much when they’re playing your local bar. And you gotta get another beer sometime anyway.
— Chris Busby
Dark Hollow Bottling Company plays an album release show on Fri., June 8, at Empire Dine and Dance, 575 Congress St., Portland, at 9 p.m. Tix: $5 (21+). darkhollowbottlingcompany.com.