After recording some initial demos in North Carolina, The Rosebuds headed to Eau Claire, Wisconsin to record with their old friend and former band member Justin Vernon (Bon Iver). Their comfort and connection with Vernon allowed them to stretch their creative limbs, as Vernon gently teased out some of the band's most stellar musical performances to date. With longtime collaborators Matt McCaughan on drums and BJ Burton co-producing and mixing the album, the band was able to quickly zero in on the dynamics and textures they wanted, while still feeling free to experiment with new styles and production ideas. The resulting songs are punchier, more confident, and more hook-laden than anything the band has produced before, without diluting the emotional foundation that defines the band.
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Whilst on holiday and taking a morning coffee in Berwick-on Tweed's branch of Cafe Nero, I came to a realisation. Perhaps.....just perhaps I don’t actually like music all that much.
Its a terrifying thought, particularly as I’ve devoted most of my life to it. One to ponder I reckon. I certainly have no enthusiasm for many of the modern day hipster bands thrust at me from various social medium, preferring instead to curl up in the warm confines of some Steely Dan album or other. Which I suppose bodes ok for this album of polished pop/rock from this North Carolina group whose main claim to fame on this album is that Justin ‘squeaker’ Vernon of Bon Iver helps produce and perform. And even better news is that he doesn’t sing all that much.
Its immediately catchy American college rock, guaranteed neither to offend nor need more than one listen to work out what is going on. This is how I’d imagine Spoon sound (turns out Spoon are a little bit more 'Oasis' than this lot) ....or how the once interesting Shins now sound. Its straightforward enjoyable jangle and strum heartland rock with plaintive vocals and quirk-free arrangements. You can’t deny the catchiness of the likes of ‘Mine Mine Mine’ an immediate earworm if ever there was one and like several of these tracks, the guys-together-strum of Travelling Wilbury’s is in evidence.
A bad thing? I don’t think so. Its a pleasant well-constructed album of alternative radio friendly efforts but lacking anything to get anyone really excited about.
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