Boomkat Product Review:
10th studio album from Alan Sparhawk's troupe, who've now been active for - gulp - 20 years. Though the band are still impeccably restrained, never wasting a note, the confidently iterated folk-rock missives gathered here are some distance from the whispered confessions and gossamer-thin arrangements of their revered 90s sides. Produced by Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) and Tom Schick, both Grammy winners, the sound conjured up is simultaneously intimate and heavy-duty, built to confidently ride the AM waves, with lots of closely mic'd piano and stacked vocal harmonies, and a real grasp of tradition. Mimi Parker sings lead on five of the tracks - a treat for fans accustomed to her usually only taking one or two - and her voice is fine fettle, especially on the last-orders country-soul lament of 'Holy Ghost': Americana is rarely as plain-speaking yet affecting as this. Sparhawk isn't quite upstaged though, belting out a blinder on the robustly percussive 'Clarence White' and properly rocking out on 'On My Own'.