It has arrived! Today Kraig and Brock will take you through the new album from Adam Duritz and the gang. It's a two-part album, so how about a two-part review?
The first half of the album (Saturday Nights) has long been referred to has the "edgier" half. Adam promised some balls-out rock and the boys deliver, right from the opening riff of 1492 and all the way through to Cowboys.
Saturday Nights (Kraig)
Speaking of Cowboys, while it's the last track of the Saturday Nights side, it was also the first track to leak from the sessions that became Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings. I was elated, nay, ecstatic upon my first listen of Cowboys. Adam's vocals were passionate - downright pissed at times. The guitars were ferocious. The lyrical content was beautiful - definitely leaning heavily on the Recovering the Satellites days.
Sadly, the rest of the cuts from Saturday Nights are hit and miss. 1492 makes me feel like Adam is trying a bit too hard to be a "rocker". Hanging Tree almost has it, then they throw in a bit too much in the bridge. Los Angeles, Sundays and Insignificant are all fine tracks - just not up to the standard that they set with Cowboys.
While the Saturday Nights side is short, I can't really say it's sweet. I want to love this album, I really do - it just doesn't quite do it for me. Cowboys and Hanging Tree seem to be the standout tracks on this side, the rest seems to be more "filler" than "killer".
Sunday Mornings (Brock)
The fierce, driving guitars of "Cowboys" give way to the delicate picking of "Washington Square," and we begin the remorse and reparations of Sunday morning. Even though Adam claims to have sold his piano in the first line, piano music provides a gorgeous backdrop to the lush arrangement. Every note is deliberate and excellent, as guitar, piano, banjo, and harmonica join together on the walk home to Washington Square. The stand-out track for me is definitely "When I Dream of Michelangelo." It is acoustic perfection, and ties together a lot of ideas from previous Crows records.
Lyrically Sunday feels to be on par with the rest of Counting Crows' catalog, and musically it feels like an acoustic This Desert Life. As you can most likely tell, I want very much to heap praise on this latest offering from my all-time favorite band. I just can't.
In all, the album is solid. If you're a fan of Counting Crows then you'll be pleased with the majority of the songs. The main gripe we seemed to have was that they tried to do a bit too much on this album. If this was cut down to a 10-12 track album it would probably be getting stellar reviews across the web. Instead, we got stuck with more "filler" than "killer" which left us forgetting some of the higher points of the album.
But seriously, Cowboys is good enough in it's own right for the entire price of admission. It's that good.
Order the album: Amazon | iTunes