Album: The Jayhawks, Mockingbird Time (Rounder)

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The Independent Culture

It is spectacular bad timing, now that such as Jonathan Wilson, Dawes and Kalli are spearheading a full Laurel Canyon country-rock revival, for The Jayhawks to release their most insipid, uninspired album in years.

This is as drab a set of songs as Gary Louris and Mark Olsen have come up with, full of so-what lyrics harnessed to weak, unengaging melodies, and delivered as limply as the Queen's handshake. "She Walks In So Many Ways" is as indistinct as its title, and the tired violin on "Black Eyed Susan" exemplifies the album's enervated condition. The familiar country-rock tropes are wheeled out to little effect on songs like "Guilder Annie", which with its12-string guitar, pedal steel and harmonies sounds like nothing so much as a Byrds song that failed to make the cut. The general lack of spirit suggests chronic apathy.

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