The first clue to this comes as the first notes of "Straightface" are played. Theyíre harder edged, and have a true rock sound to them. Farrarís vocals are distorted and the song has a real dirty sound that shows this band isnít afraid to play some edgier rock music.
The album then goes into itís more roots rock/folk stylings with "Driving The View." Even this song has a different feel than past Son Volt songs. Itís cleaner and more refined. Itís definitely from the same minds as older tracks, but you get a feeling that this album was worked on over time, itís well thought out.
Next comes one of the two "filler" tracks. "Jodel" is basically Jay making noise with a harmonica that gives way to "Medicine Hat," which is one of the strongest tracks on this album. Itís got a very melodic roots rock sound. The music on this album is a lot fuller than on previous albums and it adds a lot of new dimensions to the sound.
"Dead Manís Clothes" finally gives us a darker sounding song that many fans have come to expect from Jay Farrarís songwriting. Itís got a nice withdrawn vocal effect and the music is somber yet flows well.
My favorite track on the album is "Carry You Down." Itís got a slower, stripped down feel. Itís got the folk feel of a lot of the early songs. It was a nice variation to the more updated sound of the other tracks.
This album is a great step forward for the band, and I hope we get to see more out of them in the future. After the long wait for this album, I was pleased with the amount of thought put into it. I look forward to another great chapter to the Son Volt songbook in the near future.
Samuel Barker is Senior Editor. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.