The Moon My Saddle

Doghouse America

I don’t usually like country music, per se. Sure, every once in a while, I throw on something resurgent, but usually, I leave it alone. Now, I am not calling this a country album, but boy, does it have that down-home feel. Chamberlain have always had a kind of twang here and there; now it is a lot more evident. They are so good at it, and it complements the lyrics so well, it makes me wonder why they didn’t play like this years ago. Nothing that made me love this band in the first place is missing. The lyrics were always a main point with Chamberlain, and let me tell you, they are excellent. There is less ambiguity, however. Each song’s lyrics seem like a piece to a puzzle or continuation of a long story, like poetry making odd bedfellows with old-fashioned storytelling. The music is right on. There are even some really relaxed songs played with piano and mellotron to complete the picture. Expect a little added Southern-style twang from those guitars, though.

The entire package brings to mind this summer in Asheville, NC, when I went to a bluegrass festival and found myself completely shocked at how much I enjoyed the simplicity of it. There is a good deal of that honesty and directness in evidence here. I’m sure people are still yelling “sellout” to this band, but I don’t get it. This band seems to have broken from hardcore/emo like a curse to emerge with something unique and organic. Not to bag on the old HC/emo, it is for some people, not for others. Unfortunately, I think it was holding this band back from finding its voice, and it is good to see it finally has… Doghouse Records, P.O. Box 8946, Toledo, OH 43623

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