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Richmond Fontaine have a name that sounds like a solo artist, but don’t be fooled: this is a band through and through. You Can’t Go Back If There’s Nothing To Go Back To, their tenth album, is another gorgeous, heavily-laden alt-country sprawl. The band is accompanied for the first time by members of The Delines and The Decemberists. Available in regular editions, and in a deluxe LP version with exclusive bonus CD.


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REVIEWS

You Can't Go Back If There's Nothing To Go Back To by Richmond Fontaine
3 reviews. Add your own review.
13 people love this record. Be the 14th!
6/10 Clinton Staff review, 16 March 2016
Richmond Fontaine are more interesting than a cursory listen to their music might suggest. Over the last 20 or so years Willie Vlautin and pals have made ornate alt country that could at times veer into bursts of exciting noise that belies their Uncut-friendly alt country or equally veer down paths of spoken word of ravishing folk.   Their music is chiming bedrock for the lyrics of Vlautin (a published writer known for his ’The Motel Life’ opus). Like Springsteen before him it’s all about small town losers and things going terribly wrong in peoples lives.  This is their final album and it is quite a traditional affair with lots of mid-paced ballads and yearning steel guitars. Compared to gritty albums like ‘Post to Wire’ I’m finding it a little safe for my tastes  -more Mellancamp than Wilco - each track plods at about the same tempo and its only when the pace pick up on ‘Two Friends Lost at Sea’ and ‘Tapped Out in Tulsa’ that I can hear the Richmond Fontaine I have enjoyed on albums such as ‘Post to Wire’. ’Three Brothers Roll Into Town’ is as minimal as anything on ’Nebraska’ and it now seems that Richmond Fontaine are providing cursory music for the storytelling.   It’s an understated seemingly safe way to bow out but sometimes these alt-country sorts sneak up on you when you aren’t looking. 

6/10 The Doc Customer review, 4th May 2016

Richmond Fontaine are probably the best exponents of greyscale, down-at-heel Americana that the genre has produced in the last twenty years, so it was a sad day when they announced they were going to call it a day after this album. For long-standing fans the news didn't come a much of a surprise; it's been five years since their last album - the patchy The High Country - and with Willy Vlautin's increased focus both on his novel writing and brilliant new country-soul act the Delines, it was obvious that something had to give.

It would have been nice for them to finish with a flourish before riding away into the sunset, but the songwriting here is tired - gentle acoustic strummings, chiming leads, lyrics dealing with all the usual themes - and it really does sound in places like their hearts just aren't in it. Sure, it's easy on the ear and there's not a lot to not like about it if you're a fan of this kind of thing, but there's just not an awful lot to recommend it either; Willy claims that the lyrics are an attempt to bring closure to characters from old songs, but the stories are too familiar; really he's just going over old ground and there's not a lot of hiding it.

It's a shame to see them go out like this as they've been a wonderful band over the years, and for a long, long time it seemed like they were incapable of making a record that was anything less than brilliant, but it's a raised whiskey glass and a tearful adios, for now; just don't remember them for this, remember them for Post To Wire and the Fitzgerald instead.


9/10 C Customer rating (no review), 3rd January 2017

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