Son Volt – The Search

Son Volt – The Search / 2007 Transmit Sound / 14 Tracks / http://www.sonvolt.net /

I came to the music scene a little too late to hear Uncle Tupelo, but Son Volt is an act that continues some of the same styles and musical approaches that Uncle Tupelo once created. This is probably due to the fact that Jay Ferrar, the guitar / harmonica / vocalist of Son Volt, was an integral member of Uncle Tupelo. Don’t get me wrong, Son Volt has had a hell of a history in the years since the folding-up of Uncle Tupelo. “The Search” marks their fifth release, their third on Transmit Sound. Son Volt had an interesting marketing premise with this album.

Rather than put the same album out digitally that was released physically, the band included all of the rest of the songs from the recording sessions on the “iTunes edition”. Son Volt reminds me of the soundtrack from “Natural Born Killers”, in that it makes me recall the middle of the nineties for me. The band’s style, which looks back to individuals like early Bob Dylan and Neil Young, may play to an earlier style, but hints of R.E.M. and The La’s. The drummer Dave Bryson and Andrew Duplantis (bass), who individuals may remember from their stint in the Meat Puppets, give Son Volt a sound that reaches not only back to the folk sound of the aforementioned acts, but also to the style of alternative rock that the Puppets played. “The Search” makes another stylistic turn for the band, especially after one just gets done listening to “Okemah and the Melody of Riot”.

“The Search” is much more organic, relies much more on an earlier conception of the band, and while tracks like “Action” and “Underground Dream” are strong in their own right, the album should be taken as a whole rather than a collection of tracks. Where I can see Son Volt going in the next few years is taking a tack that is similar to that taken by Devendra Banhart, Andy Cabic, DiChristina and other individuals and labels. There might be an alternative country type of sound coming forth at times, but there is a decidedly quieter and more folk sound issuing forth from “The Search”. The band is still searching for the ultimate sound to settle down into, and the effort put during this album makes me think that this may be the direction they should go.

Top Tracks: Action, Underground Dream

Rating: 7.0/10

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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