Son Volt | The Search (Transmit Sound/Legacy)

cd_sonvolt…a guitar-rocker laced with social and political commentary that continues right where 2005's Okemah and the Melody of Riot left off.

 

 

 

 

 

Jay Farrar can still rock, and God bless him for that. The title track of his band's latest effort The Search is convincing proof of this, a guitar-rocker laced with social and political commentary that continues right where 2005's Okemah and the Melody of Riot left off. "It's the search, not the find," Farrar belts out. "The door is open to change your mind."

And a good portion of this release shows the latest incarnation of Son Volt doing just that, searching for a newer sound by incorporating instrumentation never before used in past albums. The horn-heavy "The Picture" and tortured lover piano-tinged "Adrenaline and Heresy" are two standout examples of this exploration. Another is the keyboard/synth-driven "Underground Dream," which uses sounds similar to those Farrar has dabbled with in solo efforts but new to the Son Volt catalogue.

The end of The Search finds Jay and the boys in more comfortable musical terrain, and to some quite amazing results. The catchy "L Train" is an assured Americana rocker, taking loyal listeners back to the days of Son Volt classics like "Loose String" off their debut album. "Methamphetamine" and "Highways and Cigarettes" rank among the upper echelon of Farrar's already impressive songwriting career, with his signature voice soothingly swimming in an ocean of sweet steel guitar.

While Okemah was more of a rock protest album on the country's war involvements and sad state of governmental affairs, The Search tackles social life in today's America. And it's quite a dirty picture Farrar paints here, with Big Brother technologies, strained human relations, and an over-commercialization of society. Another solid effort from St. Louis' own. B | C. Saathoff

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