Son Volt – Straightaways

ARTIST: Son Volt                               220px-Straightaways

TITLE:  Straightaways

YEAR RELEASED: 1997

CHART ACTION: #44

SINGLES: Back into Your World, Caryatid Easy

OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Way Down Watson

LINEUP: Jay Farrar, Dave Boquist, Eric Heywood, Jim Boquist, Mike Heidorn

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: Second Son Volt album seems unfocused and a bit of a letdown after such a strong debut.

SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Jay Farrar and crew’s second album starts off sort of strong with “Caryatid Easy”, a straightforward rocker with a country tinge. It gives one hope that their second album would be as good as their first, or close to it.

But that’s not the case. As the album rolls along, the songs become more laborious and ponderous. The last half of the album especially gets a bit languid (mostly thanks to Farrar’s vocals on the slower ballads), and the lyrics more and more obtuse. It’s not that there’s not good material here, but it comes down to pacing. “Caryatid Easy” could have / should have been in the middle somewhere and “Cemetery Savior” or another mid-tempo track could have been the opener.

The lack of a really memorable track also makes this record a bit disappointing. There’s not one that I could really recall without listening to it again (unlike other songs that I sing or hum in my head all of the time). It’s just falls short.

NOTES & MINUTIAE: Eric Heywood is credited as a full band member on this album, though he was also the touring guitar tech.

IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: No

 GRADE: B: Good songs, not great songs, and the pacing and sequencing isn’t the best.

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