Friday 04 April 2003
There's an air of stasis about the latest batch of songs from Bill Callahan (who is Smog), which lack the drive, focus, and most noticeably the beguiling tunes of those on earlier albums such as Knock Knock and Dongs of Sevotion. Several songs convey the sense that Callahan realises he's treading water, waiting for something to change, but not sure what form that change should take: "Butterflies Drowned in Wine", though fairly opaque, appears to be about confronting one's future, while "Vessel in Vain" offers the complementary view that one should not be bound by one's past mistakes and principles: "My ideals have got me on the run/ Towards my connection with everyone". But there's no hint of any clear future development here; this is an album trapped by the past, rehashing old themes and methods. The most welcome of these is the familiar deadpan humour, still in plentiful supply in droll reflections on desire and truth like "Morality" ("But hey/ What would my wife say/ If I was married?") and "Truth Serum", the latter featuring the most effective use of Callahan's vocal partner Sarabeth Tucek, responding to his fanciful suggestion that "Love is an object kept in an empty box" with the logical riposte, "How can something be in an empty box?" The settings range from the desultory alt.country of "Feather By Feather", where the whine of Ken Champion's pedal steel guitar lends fluidity to Callahan's characteristically hesitant semi-spoken vocals, to the ramshackle raunch-rock of "Morality" and "Butterflies Drowned in Wine", but the absence of an outside producer is starkly evident in the limpness of the arrangements.
game of thrones reviewWarning: spoilers
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Technology company Alibaba posts job advert asking for 'stunning' women with qualities of adult film actress Sora Aoi
- 2 How the language you speak changes your view of the world
- 3 'Fire at every person you see': Israeli soldiers reveal they were ordered to shoot to kill in Gaza – even if the targets may have been civilians
- 4 Italian police 'reveal' what Jesus looked like as a young boy
- 5 Uploading pictures to find out how old you are gives Microsoft the right to post them wherever they want
Top Gear: Jodie Kidd, Philip Glenister and Guy Martin 'in advanced talks' to join show
X-Men Apocalypse: First look at Game of Thrones star Sophie Turner as Jubilee and Jean Grey
American Horror Story season 5: Hotel Angela Bassett set to make 'lots of trouble' with Lady Gaga
Jorge Luis Borges fan brings his infinite library to life online
Fifty Shades of Grey movie shows first sex scene 'after 40 minutes'
In defence of liberal democracy
Over 50,000 families shipped out of London boroughs in the past three years due to welfare cuts and soaring rents
EU asylum policy is 'a direct threat to our civilisation', says Nigel Farage
The Rothschild Libel: Why has it taken 200 years for an anti-Semitic slur that emerged from the Battle of Waterloo to be dismissed?
General Election 2015: UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power, Labour warns
Schools forced to act as 'miniature welfare states' with teachers buying underwear and even haircuts for poor pupils