Tenth album by Son Volt: the US band started their album career already in 1995, when they released Trace. On 30th July 2021, they published Electro Melodier. Here are my thoughts.
Son Volt – About The Artists
Son Volt have been found in Belleville, Illinois in 1994. They are a follow-up project after the break-up of another band, Uncle Tupelo. They are doing alternative rock and alternative country music mainly. The only founding member of the band still active is singer and guitarist Jay Farrar. He is nowadays joined by Andrew DuPlantis (bass), John Horton (guitar), Mark Spencer (keyboard) and drummer Mark Patterson. The band had a hiatus between 1999 and 2007. The band has released nine studio albums so far. The peak chart position in the US was #44. The ranking was reached by Straightaways (1997) as well as American Central Dust (2009). Their most recent album Union peaked fifth in the UK Independent charts.
Son Volt – Electro Melodier – Track by Track
The fourteen song album lasts 55 minutes
A bit of rock, a touch of country and Americana – Electro Melodier starts with a straight, melodic song, which just leads to a good feeling while listening to it. A song which Farrar wrote unter die influence of the pandemic measures. A successful tour was aimed for – and the dream faded. The Reverie stayed.
2. Arkey Blue
Arkey Blue is one of these songs at which I am really happy to have at least some information about the songs in the press kit. The song is in fact a reference to Arkey Blue’s Silver Dollar, a honky-tonk in Bandera, Texas. One of the famous things about this place is that Hank Williams carved his name in one of the table. I am sure that you knew all that (in contrast to me). Now, they are also honored by a Son Volt song, which starts quite loud and powerful, but then turns into a slow song with a touch of folk.
3. The Globe
The album has some social-critic songs. The Globe, a nice country rock track, is one of them. The Globe has been written about the protests against the Black Lives Matter movement. The song comes with a strong and clear guitar play. Good listen.
4. Diamonds and Cigarettes
The second single release comes with a slower tempo, more emotions and a strong touch of country music: In Diamonds and Cigarettes, Farrar praises his 25-year marriage. Congratulations to both, the anniversary as well as the song about it.
5. Lucky Ones
Lucky Ones continues with praising love. The song stays slow and the organ has got some quite present episodes of the song. With over five minutes, the song is the longest one of the album.
6. War On Misery
The long tracks come one after another: War On Misery is just some ten seconds shorter than Lucky Ones. The song feels very intimate. Only the guitar and the voice are fully present, but some instruments create a great atmosphere. I enjoy when the guitars are howling in the background and enjoy this one.
7. Living In The USA
The press kit states names this track the Jay Farrar version of Born in the U.S.A. or Rockin’ in the Free World. His song is not that loud than these two legendary tracks – but there is quite a touch of them in this seventh track of the album. I am sure that many listeners put that one on their favorite song list.
8. Someday Is Now
The eighth track, in which Farrar is referencing to Led Zeppelin, rather points towards rock music. The voice is almost howling on top of the guitar riffs in this song. Good one.
9. Sweet Refrain
Sweet Refrain comes with a rather traditional country sound. The song makes me think of a sunset horse ride. Could be the perfect soundtrack for that.
10. The Levee On Down
The press kit to Electro Melodier calls this song a funeral dirge. I don’t like promo information too much – but that one is just on point. A song about the Trail of Tears massacre of the Cherokees. Quite impressive song.
11. These Are The Times
The eleventh track is nothing but a simply good listen to me. A straight rock track with a nice Americana-country spirit. Just a good listen about how the world has transformed. Good one!
The shortest song of the album (2:45 minutes) is likely the track I struggle with most. I just don’t get into it. Rebetika is majorly driven by the guitar.
13. The Globe Prelude
Distorted guitars with powerful chords – The Globe Prelude rather underlines the alt-rock background of Son Volt. The instrumentation leads to a special touch – but overall, this is not enough to me to put it on one of the upper ranks of my list of favorite tracks of Electro Melodier.
14. Like You
This nice closing track is Like You. The piano is having quite a strong contribution to the melody of the track. Additionally, I enjoy the vocal performance of the song. Good finish.
Son Volt – Electro Melodier – Spotify
Here is Electro Melodier on Spotify:
Son Volt – Electro Melodier – My View
Son Volt produced a really good tenth album Electro Melodier. Americana-rock fans will definitely enjoy the listen. To me, some really smashing songs are missing to assign this album a really top-notch rating. Nonetheless, there is no doubt that these guys give you good 55 minutes.
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