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Willard Grant Conspiracy - Regard the End



Fisher shares a sense of inevitable mortality with old gothic folk songs, four of which he adapts here. But there's a strange calm amid the drownings, hauntings and dead flowers. Fisher finds love among the ruins in the melancholy "Soft Hand," and the spector of death in "Beyond the Shore" and "Day Is Past and Gone" is greeted with peace instead of fear.



With mastermind Robert Fisher's bottomless baritone and a heartbreaking song cycle tightly focused on self-destruction this is hardly the feel-good record of the year. Yet the depth of Fisher's blues is something to celebrate, even if this party's recipe calls for a dark room and a fifth of bourbon.

No Depression

The band's music revolves around Robert Fisher's eclectic taste, inspired arrangements and memorable voice, an earth-warm, rugged and deep medium recalling Tom Waits, Lambchop's Kurt Wagner or Richard Thompson. On Regard the End, Willard Grant Conspiracy resolves (love, metaphoric death and the will to carry on) into something like grace.

Arrangements begin with folk-friendly guitar, mandolin, and violin, only to rise into soundscapes worthy of Lambchop , if not Tricky . The 11 members of this collective love eerie, organic atmospheres but they love melody even more. Fisher's voice--ranging from baritone to middle-of-the-earth--puts the sting, and even some redemption, back into his fatalistic visions.


E! Online

Embracing lonesome gothic-folk traditions, slight blues and country, this stark release is all about misery, hardship and stuff you'd rather not think about. But Fisher's deep voice and heavy presence--which recalls Johnny Cash and Chris Isaak--keeps you captivated.


Entertainment Weekly

On the fifth CD from this ever-shifting assemblage of musicians, alt-country's Robert Fisher either matches traditional folk lyrics to his own music or writes original songs that honor rural themes of dread and death. As always, it's historically rooted music fired by present-tense passion.


Though just as musically varied as 1999's Mojave, the new Regard the End is perhaps Willard Grant's most single-minded record in terms of lyrics. It's dusky and sorrowful, played with gothic-folk guitars, strings and keyboards

LA Weekly

Fisher captures something bigger on Regard the End - elegiac, slow-burning Gothic folk music about the sole absolute that this life has to offer. Four tracks are traditional songs updated by WGC's organic, symphonic style. Much of the remainder is Fisher's attempts to bring such gravity to his own like-minded originals and co-writes. He often succeeds. Among the more monumental: the unsettled "The Ghost of the Girl in the Well," in which a spirit haunts a murder site, and the towering, set-closing "The Suffering Song," where Fisher sings of a dying mother who "thinks it's time we all learn to pray." "Suffering's gonna come," he booms; "it's as old as the world." Ambitious indeed, and Fisher would settle for nothing less.


Pros: Incredible vocals, amazing music. Cons: None. The Bottom Line - Americana at its finest. Description . Eleven solid songs, powerful songwriting. . Eerie, compelling, sharp, and poignant. It's not feel-good music, but it sinks into the soul like balm, anyway. The deeply emotional, heartfelt lyrics cut like a knife; the haunting melodies draw the wounds closed. It's unrelenting sorrow, ending with "The Suffering Song," yet somehow is still uplifting by the exquisite beauty of the music. Glorious.


Boston Globe

The new album is a masterful collection of gothic Americana music, filled with Fisher's evocative, subtly shifting baritone, deeply probing lyrics, and various folk-noir colors.


Boston Herald

The Conspiracy casts a real spell, creating a spooky, stripped-down kind of American gothic alt-noir album focusing on loneliness, loss, mortality and suffering - but one that's strangely uplifting for all the gloom. Regard the End is as compelling as a slow-motion car wreck and just as unforgettable.


Miami New Times

Sad, somber, sobering, it's more Sunday morning than Saturday night, brooding and yet compelling in some inexplicable way. Regard the End's haunting melancholia brings to mind Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen, and Johnny Cash's final song cycle in its depictions of desolation and despair.


Chicago Sun-Times

The sound is as big as, well, the Mojave Desert. This is smart, evocative, thoughtful and attention-demanding music that stays in the memory and rewards repeat listening. Willard Grant Conspiracy defies categories and demands attention.


Pittsburgh Tribune Review

A brilliant meditation on life, death and morality, couched in music that quietly evokes the heartland. That's part of the genius of Regard the End, the linkage of death and life, and trying to find grace in both. That's a very fine distinction, and Fisher walks it as if his life depends on delineating the differences. And that's what makes Regard the End a great album.


The Music Box

Fisher succeeds in finding beauty in the macabre, and the acoustic instrumentation that adorns his songs is absolutely lovely even as it drips with sorrow and pain. Regard the End is inclined to solidify the band 's cult appeal for its somber, yet uplifting, intonations are a huge step forward in the group's ongoing evolution.


Pop Matters

This album should solidify them among Americana's best!


All Music Guide

Willard Grant Conspiracy are a chamber group. Like an ambitious version of the Scud Mountain Boys , they manage to appear out of nowhere in your living room, play an intimate set, and invoke every ghost from a 20-mile radius through your front door before leaving as quickly as they came. Regard the End may not be the opus they're bound to create, but it's their closest yet.


Boston Phoenix

The music on the new album is lush, lavish, and layered; a vibrant aural landscape of impeccably arranged guitars, pianos, trumpet, melodica, and strings.


Entertainment Today

There's a belief out there that in order for music to be good, it has to be dreary. With this kind of thinking so prevalent, you're to be forgiven if you listen to the Willard Grant Conspiracy's dark new record Regard the End and think that it's good because it's so bleak and wind-swept and dirge-like. But the truth of the matter is, this disc is good despite its bleakness, and not because of it.


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