SON VOLT- The Search

Five albums into Son Volt's career--and a pair into the band's rebirth following leader Jay Farrar's several solo ventures--it's time to bury the encumbering "alt-country" moniker that has dogged Farrar since his days in the genre-setting Uncle Tupelo. While the inexhaustible songwriter relied on guitars to drive 2005's rock-heavy Okemah and the Melody of Riot, Son Volt amends its familiar arrangements on The Search, balancing the instrumentation with piano, organ, and dabbles in a horn section. "Feels like drivin' 'round in a slow hearse," Farrar pleads over repetitive piano and East Indian guitar loops in "Slow Hearse." It's a pensive opener that suggests something is askew, but the horns that kick off "The Picture" literally scream it from the Stax vaults. Farrar dives in and out of genres, tingling the ivories to add subtle alterations to both the gorgeous "Underground Dream" and Imagine-like "Adrenaline and Heresy," turning his band into Gang of Four for the 134-second rocker "Satellite" and singing alongside Shannon McNally on the soulful "Highways and Cigarettes." While it may be impossible for this Son Volt to ever reach the pinnacle of their 1995 debut, no one can accuse Jay Farrar of going through the motions. (Amazon.com)


1 Slow Hearse
2 The Picture
3 Action
4 Underground Dream
5 Circadian Rhythm
6 Beacon Soul
7 The Search
8 Adrenaline And Heresy
9 Satellite
10 Automatic Society
11 Methamphetamine
12 L Train
13 Highways And Cigarettes
14 Phosphate Skin


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