Opening with the atmospheric “Song One,” Nic Garcia’s The Desperate Ones builds like a slow burn. Twenty-first century folk tales of the slo-core variety, Garcia walks in stride with Conor Oberst in his folkier moments, bar Oberst’s acquired-taste vocal stylings.

The album immediately strikes a balance between stark, minimalist, singer-songwriter fare and the more upbeat and produced songs that give the listener a touchstone to contrast the latter. This contrast plays off one another creating the perfect Winter palette for 2006. When Garcia sings “it’s cold and it shows,” you believe every word.

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