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People rave about this guy, rave about him. I’ve listened with anticipation but I just can’t work out a reason for the furore. This ‘highly anticipated’ new album is not bad at all. It all very sub Dylan and his voice doesn’t grate half as much as it did on previous releases I’ve heard but there’s no real magic here. If you’ve listened to the reclusive American Bill Fox then you’ll know that this kind of stuff is done much better elsewhere with timeless melodies and lyrics that really sting. Instead this stuff kind of passes by.
Its popularity is probably due to (and I’m going to come over all snobbish here) its accessibility. There are no suprises, no lyrical twists just the type of decent singer songwriter fayre you see in bars across the world but with the edge of a slightly distorted vocal and worthy arrangements saving it from dullness. ‘1905’ and ‘Bright Lanterns’ are both well constructed songs but it doesn’t excel. At times the earnest spectre of Bright Eyes appears, at others it goes all piano-ey and ever so weepy - perfect for that Dawson’s Creek soundtrack. Solid singer songwriter fodder but no more than that.
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