Son Volt

Notes of Blue

Thirsty Tigers

Mar 01, 2017 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share


Find It At: AMAZON

From the first moment of the achingly beautiful opener "Promise the World" we capitulate, our minds recalling some of the first moments we heard Anodyne from Son Volt precursor Uncle Tupelo. The foil of the pedal steel gleams and foldsa perfect refracting machine for Jay Farrar's chiseled baritoneallowing the onslaught of his could-be confidence-on-paper to bend and break and draw us under. It is there, but only for a portion, on an album that might be much bluer, and might have wiped us out completely. But anguish is only half the tone, and its match is foundthere is snarl and there is bite in Notes of Blue. It just takes a second to adjust to the opposing forces. "Lost Souls" struts in electric-garage, and "Cherokee St." pounds, the percussive stomp pulling in close to home as Farrar retires, "Today's world is not my home." The menacing spoken-word creeper "Threads and Steel" closes ominously, the bass lines flapping like toggled flesh long-aware of the need for healing, but with no salve in sight. But even still, we return to be broken by the bluest ones. Perhaps because we have no other place to return to, but to the doleful front porch bayou gospel of "The Storm" and the endearingly drawled "Cairo and Southern," every vowel pronounced long and drawn, plain and raw as day, Farrar's voice fragile. And we will stay right there, in the thick of the blue of the note. (www.sonvolt.net)

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