Well I've given it five listens and here's my ten cents. Also, as a closing note, I really haven't paid much attention to Triple Crown Records since As Tall as Lions went asunder. This release has renewed my vigor for the label.
"The After Party" - Ethereal and airy. Hull's inimitable voice. He really sounds his best in this kind of atmosphere. So hard to dislike or ignore. Lamenting how much he "hates to be alone." Driving/searing guitar dives into something dense, thick, meaty.
"No Reward" - Autumnal and breezy. Moves into hazy and distorted and weird. Seems like the kind that would take no prisoners live and win legions of new fans.
"Forest Whitaker" - My favorite lyrics of the year. "I started a band that was cool for awhile but it turned pretty bland. I started a fight with a neighbor next door and his pesky wife. You started a job that you hate when you're sober and hate even more when you're not. I know you hate me too, you always say you do." Buzzy, bright. Easily one of my favorite songs of the year. Andy Hull is a rare talent that is criminally overlooked by those that should pay attention.
"It Never Stops" - A quiet opening. Quintessential Kevin Devine song. Damn fine. Autumnal, mid-tempo. Just wow. A great freaking song. Woah.
"Pyotr" - Placid and ruminative. Super deep and cerebral. A paean to fidelity. When he writes songs like this, it feels like listening to a living legend at work.
"Friendly Advice" - Nirvana-esque opening. Gritty. Hull doing his best to be visceral, meaty and impassioned.
"No Sides" - A buzzy and bright Devine track, "I'm nobody's slaughtered lamb," drips with religious overtones. Not much of an impact. Just kind of ehhhh.
"Petite Mort" - Devine sings a subdued, mid-tempo effort. At this point, it feels like the album may be losing its appeal.
"42" - Andy Hull solo acoustic. Freaking amazing. Why did Hull bring his A game to this effort but Devine didn't?
"Lost Creek" - Hull again. "My dad and Russell running through the woods of Lost Creek. It's a shame Jessica never got clean." Why is it that Hull sings about nostalgia like very few of his peers? God this is just cinematic and magical stuff. What a home run.
"Ambivalent Peaks" - A quiet Kevin Devine affair that is timid and temperamental. Considering he got outshines by Hull for most of this album, this is a pretty towering effort.