One such partner in crime is Esmé Patterson, whose country twang appears on several occasions. The most notable is on the single ‘Dearly Departed‘ (“you and I both know this house is haunted, and the ghost is you”). This mournful tale of loss masquerades quite deceptively as a spritely pop song and justifies it’s status as the album’s single.
‘The Perfect Parts‘ and ‘If Not For You‘ venture to some dark places, both edgy nuggets of distorted blues. A sense of loss permeates throughout the record regardless of the genre twists and turns.
With a simplistic kickdrum heartbeat and bouncy fingerpicking ‘Hard Wired‘ transports us onto a cabin porch sucking in the mountain air. It may sound happier but again look a little below the surface and the sadness is again seeping through.
A little less inspection is required to feel the doleful vibes in the remorceful ‘Pansy Waltz‘ (“I should have been a better friend to you”). It feels like the kind of song to which a drunken stagger might be appropriate. The pinnacle of And The War Came is also it’s most experimental track. Whilst still revolving around the trademark alt country guitar pluck, there are more unexpected layers giving the song an edge of electronica. Perhaps this may be a hint of the direction Shakey Graves is heading.
Strip away the bells and whistles and this is essentially an alt country record with it’s mellower stripped back moments bringing to mind the likes of Iron And Wine. Whilst the various guest’s contributions add some flavours it would fall flat if not for the solid songwriting from which all else hinges. With a satisfying mix of country and dirty blues garnished with a wonky waltz and some experimental dabbles, And The War Came makes for an enjoyable listen.