Not Waving but Drowning is not the only history obsessed New York musical act (see also Piñataland, Curtis Eller). But it's not the bits of history that pop up on their debut CD that make it work for me, it's the musical variety.
Check the first number on "Any Old Iron":
"Let's Go Dancing!" is a bouncy bit of singalong banjo/fiddle pop fun. It's as if the band stumbled upon a wonderful old 45 that's been worn thin by a million jukebox spins and made that song their own.
The rest of the CD fulfills the promise of the fist song:
"Maypole" creeps with a sinister country folk/vibe, "In Flames" crackles like the Great Lost College Rock Song (I swear that I heard this song circa '85 sandwiched between REM and Love Tractor), "Sick" is another radio song... but circa the 1930's the drums giving it a wonderful jazzy looseness, "Thin Red Lines" allows the band to balls-out (country) rock and show their love for X, "Lowlands" brings out the accordion and sports a sea-shanty influence and "The Drowned Man's Ball" pops & rattles with an old world urgency.
I've got to say I really, really liked "Any Old Iron".