8/10 Mike Staff review, 22 November 2011
According to the press release this guy/band is endorsed by none other than Saint David of Bowie himself, which pretty much doubled my expectations upon spinning this beautifully packaged platter - not to mention that he's accompanied on this record by members of just about every current alt-country band worth a crap. As you'd imagine, this is a totally slick recording, with ambitiously arranged country shuffles aplenty. Think Songs:Ohia's comparatively upbeat 'Magnolia Electric Co' LP crossed with Dire Straits. Think a slightly slinkier Lambchop fronted by Tom Petty. This genuinely sounds like it could've come out in the late sixties to mid seventies. There's certainly not a lot of evidence of any influences later than that. That said, though, it is a pleasure to hear a record like this with lots of skilled musicians making an understated and organic sound that's this slick and radio-friendly. It's the comforting sound of real people playing real instruments without being homogenised by any of the production shortcuts that the home computer revolution has made so ubiquitous. While it's hardly the most innovative record I've heard lately, the musicianship and production is top notch throughout and Americana purists everywhere should snap this one up while it's still available (this is a hand-numbered edition of 500 so I can't see them staying around all that long). This is ten times better than that Ryan Adams album everyone's losing their shit over right now. Maybe even eleven.
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