You Call That Dark
I’m infinitely thankful to Bar/None Records for being one of the more reliable bastions of quality country rock around these days, but I have to wonder what was going through their heads when they decided to release this album. The disc is rife with clich•s (selling the family land, oneness with nature, etc.), awkward, poppy modernizations that come off like cartoony caricatures (“God Bless Ione”), and grating nursery rhyme melodies (“Helen Has a House”). Add to this Jacobs’ nasally, wispy warble – which only takes a track or two to become nerve-wracking – and you’ve got trouble.
The album isn’t devoid of good qualities, however. Former Yo La Tengo guitarist Dave Schramm produced the album and provides most of the instrumentation. The music, while largely standard issue alt-country, is the most enjoyable part of this disc, but it’s still hardly enough for me to recommend the album. I’d like to hope that this disc is just a momentary lapse in both Jacobs’ and Bar/None’s judgment because even the most ardent alt-country supporters will have a hard time finding much of merit on here.