A harrowing, confessional, highly American album performed by a versatile band with a large, lush sound. The music rocks and swings often, but the overarching mood is deeply serious. This transcends folk and rock tropes by bending them to the highly personal nature of the material. FCC WARNING: 12. Favorites: 3, 7, 9.
1. (2:53)—Mid-tempo. Quickly bowed cello, softly struck cymbal. Full, lovely folk. Fades into track 2.
2. (3:10)—Fast. Anthemic, but pulled back and muted a bit, like listening to the Arcade Fire through a pillow. Soft trumpet in the background.
3. *(3:59)—Medium fast. Eerie lap steel. Lovely, minimal beginning led by acoustic guitar. Gets bouncy and trippy during the choruses.
4. (3:37)—Slow. Especially poppy. A couple sly “Be My Baby” references. Trumpet solo.
5. (3:51)—Slow. This one’s big. Crunchy guitar, gang vocals, piano, and banjo. Groovy.
6. (3:09)—Mid-tempo. Stripped down to plucked acoustic guitar and raspy, slightly spoken vocals. Occasional musical garnishes.
7. *(4:28)—Mid-tempo. Deep organ. Shakers, both back-masked and not. Cello and one needle-like keyboard note come in later. Tense.
8. (3:04)—Fast. Aggressive sound. The soundtrack to the most melancholy hoedown you can imagine.
9. *(5:05)—Fast, tom-tom heavy drumming. Handclaps. Scorched earth sound. Big, lush chorus. Fades into track 10.
10. (4:30)—Slow first half, medium-fast second half. Shouting chorus. Epic baroque pop. Really takes a page from The Arcade Fire’s Funeral.
11. (4:10)—Only acoustic guitar and voice. End-of-the-rope folk.
12. (3:44)—FCC WARNING (f***). Mid-tempo beginning with a country bent. Band crashes in and rocks out. Harmonica!
13. (4:56)—Light, reverb-y, pleading, country-ish song. Sultry horns.
14. (4:57)—Slow. Aims for the sound of an old, raw gospel song. Vocals and some shaker. Music stops at -0:25.