Top critical review
5 people found this helpful
on September 1, 2004
A friend gave me a copy of the cd with the firm conviction that if not on the first listen, I would on subsequent listens love this cd. I've listened to it a number of times...
Wild Son, with it's almost Smiths-iness is a particularly good song, but is followed by the uninteresting Guiding Light and then Lavinia with it's overemotional, overblown string arrangement that could work if the song had been shorter. More Heat than Light is a great song: truly gritty and bleak sounding in the best of ways. The Tide... is insufferably trite: the metaphor is insipid and is only made more so by the manner in which is blended into the awful refrain of an awful song.
Leavers Dance is a pleasant melancholic bit, but is followed by what may be the album's best song (More Heat... is the rival), the ambling, moody, Talk Down the Girl, whose lilting melodic line is well complimented by Andrews' plaintive vocal work.
Valley of New Orleans starts out interesting, but becomes quickly repetitive, without music or lyrics to redeem it; Vicious Traditions is like a poorly constructed rip-off of Interpol's, NYC, with a few more phrases thrown in; and though I seem to recall Nowhere Man being good, it seems that it isn't very memorable as I don't remember it.
The whole thing is terribly reliant on the vocalist: the rest of the instrumentation is not terribly inspired and even the melodies of the vocal lines are almost secondary to the quality of his voice which is good as far as the emoting goes, but which, though currently of a fashionable style, I don't find particularly appealing in style or texture. The album is good, but it's that kind of good that is good because the musicians are at least competent and everything is fit into place just as it should be to be good. If it were used as the soundtrack to a movie, it would be perfect - the sound would have a visual counterpart to reinforce it - but on its own, I find it leaves me with a sort of unfulfilled sort of feeling.