Canadian roots-rock act Elliott Brood belongs to the Marah/House Of Freaks school of electrified folk music, holding fast to the notion that a great story-song sounds even better played fast and rough, propelled by frenzied strumming and rattling percussion. The band’s second LP, Mountain Meadows, is a song-cycle about the 1857 slaughter of an Arkansas traveling party by a Mormon militia, but it isn’t not some dreary collection of funereal murder ballads. Songs like “Fingers And Tongues” and “Garden River” are loud and uptempo, sounding one moment like an incident spinning out of control, and the next like an intense, focused bludgeoning. Yet Mountain Meadows isn’t shrill or unsettling. Mark Sasso’s warm, raspy voice and the band’s gift for gliding, hum-along melodies renders these songs almost joyous. By the time Elliott Brood arrives at Mountain Meadows’ finale, “Miss You Now,” the band has effectively converted the mourning of the murdered into an occasion for a party. This is dance-out-your-outrage music.
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