Buckner's eighth full-length soars and swells around his signature trifecta of enigmatic poetics, swirling melodies, and that voice - a soothing drawl that's somehow road weary and buoyant all at once. The melodies are fleshed out by an all-star band: Doug Gillard (Guided By Voices, Cobra Verde), Kevin March (GBV, Those Bastard Souls, Dambuilders), J.D. Foster, and Steven Goulding (Mekons, Graham Parker, Waco Brothers). Fresh and evocative, poignant and real, it documents "the modern age wrapped up in the frustrations and sympathies of a wanderer" - Austin Chronicle.
If such categories mean anything in regard to Richard Buckner, Meadow
sounds more like indie rock (or occasionally classic rock) than alt-country. While Buckner's smoky vocals and elliptical lyrics continue to convey as much through sound as sense, here he reunites with producer/bassist J.D. Foster (who helmed Buckner's standout Devotion + Doubt
) for a song cycle that has more powerful and propulsive arrangements than is often the case with the artist. Teaming with Foster in the rhythm section is Steven Goulding (from the Mekons and Graham Parker's Rumour), while Guided by Voices alumni Doug Gillard and Kevin March provide the front-line firepower. The melodic lilt and guitar shimmer of "Canyon" and the brooding balladry of "Numbered" (all song titles but the last are inscrutably one word) highlight a set without a throwaway track. As with Son Volt's equally terse Jay Farrar, Buckner's laconic diffidence conveys yearning, conviction, and considerable expressive subtlety. --Don McLeese