KINGBLIND: Music, Art & Entertainment Music News, Album & Concerts Reviews, MP3's, Music Videos, Art / Entertainment and much more!

Jay Farrar:: Stone, Steel & Bright Lights (Album Review)

Ponder this, Jay Farrar faithful: In a live setting, would the somber numbers on Terrior Blues negate the rocking cuts from Sebastopol? How would Farrar reconcile the divergent moods of the two albums, the latter fiery, angry and muscular, the former a sad lament, conveying an aching sense of irrecoverable loss? Stone, Steel & Bright Lights tackles the issue with a two-pronged solution: Cherry-pick renditions of the various songs from different venues during Farrar’s September-October 2003 tour dates and then cluster them together. Each album gets a run of five straight tracks, an approach that works to a point. The Terrior Blues material, even bolstered by the presence of Washington D.C. alt-country act Canyon backing Farrar and adding definite punch to the originals, still brings things to a crawl (especially in regards to the dour-in-any-setting “Cahokian”). Farrar also debuts two new songs: the acoustic, unwavering “Doesn’t Have to Be This Way” is a thumb in the eye of the current administration, while the declarative anthem “6 String Belief” challenges staid music convention (“Killed by consolidation / Killed by saturation / The underground will correct”). For an encore, Farrar rips through two covers, with Syd Barrett’s acid-washed “Lucifer Sam” the most surprising (and refreshing) psychedelic detour. The more obvious choice, Neil Young’s “Like A Hurricane,” fits Farrar’s demeanor and style to T, although Farrar and Canyon do nothing particularly new with it. Stone, Steel & Bright Lights affords Farrar an opportunity to let his hair down, but not too much. There’s a rigid sincerity to his work that refuses to allow him to drift too far from the statements of purpose he so carefully lays down in the studio.