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albums. For most parts it's a stripped down affair, it's occasionally
distorted, and the arrangements are not as gorgeous as those on his
last release "Sometimes I Wish We Were An Eagle" or "A River Ain't
Much To Love", but after a few listens it grows on you, and I think
this holds togheter really well as an album.
A couple of the songs are jazzier than anything he has done before,
for instance "Universal Applicant" and "Bee's", with the flute parts.
Others have those surprising and unusual transitions that Callahan
handles so well; a small change of tempo, an unexpected twist,
a sigh, a whisper,"a couple of hoots, a hello and a f##k all y'all"!
He is one of very few artists that can make something quiet hit
hard, and make sparse arrangements sound like a full orchestra.
"Drover" is one of the standouts, it's the sound of the west
with an acoustic strum and climbing strings. This is a terrain
Calexico has visited a few times, but the prairie has never felt
this close. Nature, as on many of his greatest albums and songs,
is a felt presence on "Apocalypse"; rivers, deserts, horses,
cattle, valleys and mountains.
And as usual he delivers some incredibly clever and funny one
liners, among the grievous parts and the poetry.
The album closer, "One Fine Morning", is a STUNNING song.
One of the most hypnotic and beautiful things he has done.
Togheter with "Baby's Breath", "Riding For The Feeling", "America!"
and "Drover", it stands as the albums finest moment, and if there ever
was a funeral song, you won't find better opening lines than these:
"One fine morning I'm going to ride out,
just me and the skeleton crew..."
As you'd expect by now, the dark humor, startling wit and jaw-dropping poetic grace is all once again present, adding to the argument that Callahan (along with, in this writer's opinion, Will Oldham and the late Elliott Smith) is one of the three or four best songwriters of his time. And when I say songwriters, I'm mostly talking about lyrics here, as many of Callahan's songs, when simply put on paper and studied, read through as well as anyone ever - Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan, Townes Van Zandt, John Lennon, etc. Like Oldham, Callahan is fairly weird dude hidden inside the guise of a dusty Southern throwback. His fatherly voice holding his eccentric songs together like duct tape, falling out of your speakers like the voice of some humble, riddle-teasing God. The voice of a seemingly introverted man, living deep in his own head, spilling bits and pieces of American life that take weeks - sometimes years - to decode. Sojourner cuts, I call 'em.
As always, the voice is deep and sprinkled with a kind of nuanced emotion that can at times really pack a punch.Read more ›
At first it feels slightly short despite clocking in at a healthy 40 minutes, but songs like `Drover', `Baby's Breath' and `Riding for the Feeling' are worth the price of admission alone however. 'America!' is a fun quirky effort that reminds me of earlier Smog in some ways. But while there is nothing on there like `All Thoughts are Prey to Some Beast' or much of what made his last effort so special, 'Apocalpyse' remains an excellent release for the man.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Never tire of Bill Callahan's beautifully crafted songs.Published 6 months ago by Stephen Wesley Thurston
A voice as good as Lou Reed or Leonard Cohen, but the songs are definitely not at their level.Published 7 months ago by N. Celender
I like the first half of this album immensely. The second half is good too, just not as good as the first. "The Drover" is one of my favorites (lyrically and musically). Read morePublished on November 19, 2013 by Beelzebub666
Another great effort by Bill. I got the mp3 version and was pleasantly surprised to receive "One Fine Morning" which was listed as on the album only. Read morePublished on October 30, 2013 by JayP
I admit, I'm a recent convert to Smog/Bill Callahan. If you're like me and audition music on this site before buying, you'll like the promise of this lp. Read morePublished on April 13, 2013 by SLS
Why isn't Bill Callaghan more famous? This is an amazing record by an artist at the height of his powers. The vinyl recording is pretty amazing too. RecommendedPublished on October 24, 2012 by Dubhousing
I first heard Bill Callahan on a very large SXSW artist compilation, a song called In Hindsight, and after hearing that song several times I felt compelled to find more and was not... Read morePublished on February 14, 2012 by nozama
I only recently discovered Bill Callahan, and bought his 2009 album "I Wish We Were an Eagle", which I thought was excellent and original, with memorable melodies, great... Read morePublished on October 18, 2011 by Anne Pann