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The Lofty Pillars

Their vaguely celestial name sound aside, The Lofty Pillars are very much of the Planet Earth. They know all about tellurian concerns like loneliness and abandonment, lost love, coldness, and isolation. Boxhead Ensemble founder Michael Krassner is the leader of this group, essentially the same collective which supported him on his self-titled solo debut of 1999. As those familiar with that release might guess, The Lofty Pillars work in a melancholy vein that mines roots rock and '70s soft rock, but here the instrumentation is considerably more baroque and the pieces much more embroidered with countrified heartbreak. Krassner's wavery voice is the unsteady constant in a constantly shifting sea of rich textures which includes bending, sorrowful pedal steel and dobro and rich touches of bassoon and cello. The orchestration is rich but subtle, the songs feathery and windblown, never getting tangled up in their own heavy poignancy, but bearing it along like a maritime scent in the air.

The Pillars' 2000 debut full-length is called When We Were Lost. "Lost," the album's opener, begins as a small, delicate piece dominated by piano and pedal steel, before swelling into something large and anguished. "At the Station" is a measured, breathy thing of beauty. "Victim," the album's final track, is a languid, meditative song of self.