Son Volt

The Search | Transmit Sound/Legacy
By MIKAEL WOOD  |  April 10, 2007
2.5 2.5 Stars
The usual rap against Son Volt, the St. Louis–based alt-country outfit led by singer/guitarist Jay Farrar (Jeff Tweedy’s old mate in Uncle Tupelo), is that the group adhere too tightly to roots-music orthodoxy — in other words, that they’re dead boring. So when “The Picture,” the lead single from Son Volt’s fifth studio disc, comes charging out of the gate with a bright soul-music horn section leading the way, your first thought is that Farrar has finally loosened his grip on the band’s sound and allowed some air to infiltrate the music. And for “The Picture,” a hard-jangling rocker in which Farrar worries over “hurricanes in December” and “earthquakes in the heartland,” that is in fact the case. But throughout the rest of The Search, the singer is as content as ever to chew over the same familiar cowpunk guitar riffs and recycled just-folks themes. In “Beacon Soul,” he wonders, “Who the hell is Dow Jones anyway?”, then rhymes the line with — gulp — “society’s bones on a cafeteria tray.” The result is respectable, serious, accomplished and . . . no fun.

Son Volt + Jason Isbell | Paradise Rock Club, 967 Comm Ave, Boston | April 15 | 617.931.2000
Related: Son Volt | American Central Dust, Billy Bragg, Lil Mama, More more >
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