Lou Barlow - Goodnight Unknown
At this stage we've really come to know exactly what to expect when we get a Lou Barlow record. Whether it's his solo material or recording with Sebadoh, Sentridoh, or Folk Implosion, we know the music on the disc will be lo-fi rock that has mucho slacker appeal.
So we know what Barlow's new album Goodnight Unknown is going to sound like right? Not so fast bucko. Barlow has decided to throw us a few curve balls on his new record.
Yes, the lo-fi slacker sound is still there on many of the tracks. Songs like "One Note Tone", "Praise" and the banger opener "Sharing" are pretty much like the Barlow we've grown up with, even if the production quality is a little higher than we're used to.
The changes are subtle, but there is a marked broadening in Barlow's sound spectrum for this album. The title track brings in a psychedelic keyboard swirl while "Don't Apologize" works piano into the lo-fi stomp. String arrangements adorn "I'm Thinking...".
Through the clatter of "One Machine, One Long Flight" Barlow finally embraces the role of lead singer with his biggest vocals to date. The back-to-back "Faith In Your Heartbeat" and "The One I Call" may be the closest Barlow has ever come to producing an honest-to-goodness ballad.
The songwriting itself may not be as gripping as some of Barlow's previous work, but the expansion of his sound is a welcome development. Goodnight Unknown should help to breathe new life into his music.
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