Review from the Vault is a new category revisiting past reviews published elsewhere that seem to have disappeared from Google.
The Search, the latest release from roots rockers Son Volt, opens with a minor key mantra with the sole lyrics of â€œFeels like riding in a slow hearse.â€ Fair enough. But, at times, this hearse picks up some speed and starts fishtailing around hairpin curves, like on â€œThe Picture,â€ the albumâ€™s brassy (literally) second track. When Farrar sings â€œWeâ€™ll know when we get there, if weâ€™ll find mercy,â€ you suspect he already knows the answerâ€”and you just arenâ€™t going to like it.
Although the music isnâ€™t all downbeat dirgesâ€”thereâ€™s some patented Farrar rockers like â€œActionâ€ and â€œAutomatic Societyâ€â€”the albumâ€™s lyrics are focused on calamities and catastrophes on both the personal and global scale. Pleasingly, the new line-up is beginning to gel more as an actual band than it did on its previous lineup, and thereâ€™s near-perfect balance of straight-ahead rock with the more esoteric instrumentation of Farrarâ€™s solo releases. As Farrar mournfully croons on the closing track â€œPhosphate Skin,â€ â€œIt can only get better from here, donâ€™t have any fear.â€
(Originally published in the Chico News & Review)