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The Sadies - New Season

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Artist: The Sadies

Album: New Season

Label: Yep Roc

Review date: Feb. 14, 2008

Dallas and Travis Good, the guitar playing, harmonizing brothers at the Sadies’ core, can’t help but tower above the competition; since the elevation of their crowns is around six and a half feet, they’d have to wander into an NBA locker room to get called short stuff.

But their music, while lovingly and energetically played and rooted in immaculate good taste, doesn’t stand so tall. The Canadian quartet’s mix of caffeinated picking, twangy guitar leads, well-blended harmonies, and rolling, check out those clouds over the prairie melodies sound awfully ingratiating, especially if your ear naturally tunes itself to the Byrds. New Seasons sounds quite nice every time I put it on, and yet when it’s done I have a hard time remembering anything about it – that’s not good for something that is essentially pop music.

The problem is that the Sadies may be great at painting a lovely backdrop, but there’s rarely a gripping figure in the foreground to grab your attention. This quality serves the Sadies well when they back up others; they’ve made singers as diverse as Andre Williams and Neko Case sound really good by making everything work right behind them. But on New Seasons, it feels like something is missing.

That’s not to say that the songs suck; “”Yours To Discover” is a lovely, fuzztone-laced dream in the tradition of “Wasn’t Born To Follow” or “Ballad of Easy Rider.” But even there, the lyrical narrative fades into the floating, flowing instrumental. And when the words do come to fore, as on the elegiac “The Land Between,” they turn out to be No Depression boilerplate. The wordless tunes work better because even when they sound like Dick Dale or Ennio Morricone in a New York hurry, these guys are masters of big screen grandeur.

You’ve got the wide-angle lens down, guys – time to work on your close-ups.

By Bill Meyer

Other Reviews of The Sadies

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Tales of Rat Fink

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