Son Volt: The Search


I’ll be honest, when Son Volt reformed a couple years ago and released Okemah And The Melody Of Riot, I was shocked how good it was.  Perhaps it was because Jay Farrar was the only original member who decided to come back and rock or just because Farrar’s last solo effort, Terroir Blues, fell flat to my ears; whatever the reason, it was a surprise that the new Son Volt had many more gallons in the tank.
    The Search, their new effort, is just as fantastic as Okemah.  Hell, it’s better.  It doesn’t rock as much, doesn’t sound as pissed off or as urgent, but Farrar sounds as alive as he’s ever been recorded.  You could argue that he stretches his vocal range a bit too far on a few tunes (“The Search” being the most obvious), but for a guy who sometimes performs (and is criticized) as if he’s barely carrying a pulse, who can blame him. I find it a bit odd that two of the best songs, “Methamphetamine” and the beautiful “Highways and Cigarettes,” are buried near the end of the album, but like many of Farrar’s cryptic lyrics, it’s probably best to leave that alone. Count me in as excited for their next album, if it ever happens.

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