Faces & Names
First solo album from Soul Asylum front man Dave Pirner, and you probably know what to expect. And Pirner, ever the craftsman, both delivers and moves beyond the expectations, proving himself to be a surprisingly mature and exploring artist within such a fundamentally informal setting. Taking the indie rock of Soul Asylum as the starting point, Faces & Names represents a more subdued — although by no means a stripped-down — sound from Pirner.
There is a slight soul approach shining throughout the album, often tightly interwoven with the more familiar Americana-based sounds. “Never Recover” is steeped in folksy soul, a casual mid-tempo track with an easy, disarming sound. The fine “I’ll Have My Day” takes gospel music to Pirner’s singer/songwriter setting, underlining his Minneapolis background. “Tea” offers up a stew of swampy funk pop, “Much Too Easy” goes the brit-rock route of Oasis, and we get the moving, classic Otis soul of “Start Treating People Right.”
And if the album seems to move in every direction, it is a testament to Pirner’s talents that he manages to hold it all together, to bring a unique and personal touch to the album. There’s a relaxed and charming feel to the album, to the point that it almost begin to feel like a loose, casual jam session. Pirner, quite simply, sounds as if he had great fun doing this, and the album’s Americana/soul approach feels genuine and respectful, steering well clear off either pastiche or sheer, lazy trend-jumping. A surprisingly satisfying detour from Pirner.
Ultimatum Music: http://www.ultimatummusic.com