tue 16/10/2018

CD: Cowboy Junkies – All That Reckoning | reviews, news & interviews

CD: Cowboy Junkies – All That Reckoning

CD: Cowboy Junkies – All That Reckoning

The band returns with a woozy, occasionally shining album

Gems get lost in the mix of Cowboy Junkies' latest offering

This woozy, seductive slice of gothic Americana is the Canadian quartet’s first album in six years, a swampy follow-up to the icy, winter-inspired sounds of their last offering, The Wilderness

“All That Reckoning Part 1” gets things going, an oppressive tale of a relationship with dark undercurrents. “This bed was poison / And I lay afraid of ever touching you,” breathes Margo Timmins, whose rich, smoky vocals go from seductive and sinister to sweet and romantic over the course of the record. 

Unfortunately, a few of these songs – including the next track, “When We Arrive” –seem to go nowhere by end of their fairly brief running time (all clock in around the four-minute mark). Then fifth track "Sing Me a Song” suddenly picks up the pace with a rocking, buzzing groove, with urgent pleas to “sing me a song about life in America / Sing me a song of forgiveness”. It’s a welcome lift, before things slow down again with the waltzing, mysterious Mountain Stream and Missing Children, whose fantastical lyrics are inspired by William Blake’s “The Angel” and “The Tyger”. 

“Nose Before Ear” is a real standout track, and wouldn’t sound out of place on the soundtrack of a Western – it lollops along in a dusty shimmer, with Margo announcing “I’m going to start this song in a dark low whisper / Out of respect for the story it tells” and then doing just that. The rather lovely, folky “The Possessed” brings the album to a close, delicately telling the strange story of an encounter with “the devil disguised as water”. 

All That Reckoning feels like music to listen to on an oppressively hot day, accompanied by an icy bourbon, under a tree – the sort of day when you can’t bear to move until the sun’s gone down. It's just a shame that some of it seems to blend into itself, threatening to overwhelm the gems that sparkle here and there.


All That Reckoning feels like music to listen to on an oppressively hot day, accompanied by an icy bourbon, under a tree

rating

Editor Rating: 
3
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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