Title - 'The Search' (Transmit Sound/Legacy)
Artist - Son Volt
Jay friggin' Farrar, man. That's all I've been able to say or think about since this CD was handed to me by my Editor here at Exclusive! How he does it, I haven't a clue. But Farrar has proven once again that he is the most important songwriter in the world today. `The Search' is Farrar's most mature release ever, and it brings together all the elements of his career that we love, often times in the span of just one song. This is a beautiful return to the mysterious poetic of Farrar's earliest writings with Son Volt. The songs exude concern, pain, honesty, heartache, and hope. They may well be Farrar's best batch ever.
I have been moved to chills - near tears - at so many points on this record already that no review can do these songs justice. The emotions that his voice and poetry stir in his listeners are deeper than words can capture. He is a master. That's all there is to it.
"Adrenaline and Heresy" is like a shot to the gut ("She said I still love you/I don't know if I wanna spend the rest of my time with you, the rest of my life with you"). "Beacon Soul" is a melody so unique, so brilliant that it leaves one wondering how in hell it wasn't discovered before. "Underground Dream" features some of Farrar's best lines in a long time ("Had a thought that consumer goods were bad/Like a rat can never beat the wheel/There's a wiretap stealing a nightmare/Shadows laughing and making deals"). "Automatic Society" and "Action" are rock songs that stand up next to anything Farrar's ever done with an electric guitar - just pure rock `n' roll. "L Train" and "Methamphetamine" are classic acoustic Farrar compositions in the melancholy vein that only his voice can fully capture. And his voice!
All this said, PLEASE buy the Deluxe Edition on iTunes. Some of the best tunes on the record are among the eight (8) extra you get from iTunes. Indeed, my only "criticism" of this recording session for Son Volt (if you can call it criticism) is that Farrar had such an explosion of creativity and prolificacy that he has ended up short-changing the final cut. How in hell the tunes "Coltrane Free" (already one of my favorite Farrar songs of all-time), "Bleed the Line" (super-powerful), "Bicycle Hotel" (another immediate classic, just pure chills...), "Carnival Blues" (could easily have been written for `Trace'), and "Acetone Angels" didn't make the final cut is utterly beyond me. These five tunes are as good as anything Farrar has ever written. I honestly wish he would've kept these from us and saved them for the next full-length release if he felt they didn't work with the 14 he chose for 'The Search.'
So, yeah, do yourself a favor and buy this record. But buy the Deluxe Edition from iTunes. You'll be happy you did.