The Darker It Gets
Label: Sub Pop Records
You can only "preserve" for so long. And so now the Preservation Hall Jazz Band strikes out to play some original tunes. They cop moves from artists who've borrowed from New Orleans: "Rattlin' Bones" has a bit of an early Tom Waits feel. The title track has handclaps and a rumbling beat that nod towards R&B trends born after early jazz -- but the tune is over in three minutes! Thankfully, they stretch out a bit, wailing group-improv style on "Dear Lord (Give Me Strength)." The best new songs here, paradoxically, are the ones that let this band do its well-established thing (like "Sugar Plum").