Published May 18, 2010The liner notes' claim that the Sadies keep getting better may sound presumptuous, but a few spins and there is no disproving the boast. Given that they're now well into double figures for albums made (collaborations rightfully included) that's a rare feat. Beginning with 2007's triumph, New Seasons, the band have narrowed their musical focus a little, resulting in a distilled concentrate that packs the potent punch of well-made moonshine. Production values have been simultaneously strengthened, in part via the invaluable input of co-producer Gary Louris (Jayhawks). Louris adds vocal harmonies to six cuts, including co-write "Idle Tomorrows." That's the only guest appearance here, unlike on earlier albums. Things kick off with the spiritedly garage-ish "Another Year Again" and close with a typically cinematic instrumental, "10 More Songs." In between are a batch of well-constructed numbers that often have a sombre feel. The stone cold killer cut is "Tell Her What I Said," which is full of haunting sonics and lines like, "I turn to oblivion, night after night." There's nary a dud here, though the vocals are somewhat buried on "Violet and Jeffrey Lee." This band can still play, sing and write circles around virtually all those out there. The Sadies' status as a national treasure remains intact.
Enjoy working with Gary Louris again?
Singer/guitarist Dallas Good: We're getting into the studio process more all the time. Gary and I really enjoy chasing down weird sounds and doing now unconventional things that were once very conventional, like analog and little effects and tricks. This album was really fun to make. We made it quickly and collaboratively. Compared to all our other experiences, everyone was really prepared and excited about this one. Gary brings so much to the table in different ways, and he makes us all really confident about the things he likes. Because of what we learned from him on the last record, we knew a lot of what he'd say about the songs in advance. He is family. Totally.
There's a dark tone to most of the lyrics here.
I've never really thought of it this way before, but I guess up until now I've been writing more about death 'cause I thought that was a heavy thing to write about. Now, I like writing about dying, because that seems a little heavier. I guess that's the shift in my approach to writing. This time, I decided to beat around the burning bush a little less. My tongue is never in my cheek on this record, but it wasn't exactly an attempt to send a dark, profound message. (Outside)