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Stitches

Califone
DEAD OCEANS

Califone has done this before: The frequently brilliant avant-roots collective has sold a platter of undercooked ideas and called it an album. Stitches rehash of everything the band does well isn’t a panic alarm, because they usually follow up these weak efforts with genius. Stitches, the band’s seventh full-length, offers all the dusty, roughshod pieces that make Califone special. Tim Rutili’s weathered, emotionally crushed vocals are backed by the usual rogue banjo, guitar, electronics and Waitsian percussion. Unfortunately, Stitches fails to expand the band’s vision and, worse, completely lacks the energy of previous albums — and that is the real panic alarm for listeners. Part of the appeal of Rutili is that he’s sounded prehistorically tired since he was 25. Stitches, however, makes one worry the entire band has grown prehistorically tired of simply being Califone.