Sound — 9
This CD is divided into two different halves or parts: Saturday Nights electric, darker side. Sunday Mornings more of an acoustic, mellow side. Saturday Nights. This is clearly the best and most consistent half. 01. 1492 - the first song on this side is possibly the darkest from all the record, and one of the fastest with no doubt. All three guitars (yes, three guitars), mix very well to turn this combination of furious riffs into an adrenaline-flooded intro song. 02. Hanging Tree - during the verses, the piano and guitars are only a support for the lyrics; however, during the chorus, the instruments come to the front of the scene and take over, specially the drums and the lead guitar. This song shows some influence of Chicago-based band Wilco. 03. Los Angeles - this song slows down the quick pace that the first two had given to the start of this half. This was probably predestinated to be a single, with maybe a little more of a commercial layout of the instruments. More melodic than the rest of Saturday Nights, the guitars, piano and drums are only a mere support for Adam Duritz' singing. 04. Sundays - this song has clearly some things from This Desert Life, the band's third album, with some more unusual arrangements and some great bass-playing by Matt Malley, former bassist. It's not in the same mood as the rest of this side of the record but it somehow manages to blend very well. 05. Insignificant - this clearly reminds of what the Crows did on Recovering The Satellites, their second album, with some similarities with Have you seen me lately? The guitar playing is excellent and the second voices give Duritz' voice just everything it needs. 06. Cowboys - what to say about this song? It might probably be the best one on the whole album, not just on this side. It has something from almost ever record the Crows have done. It has that rocking feeling from Recovering the Satellites, and the complexity from This Desert Life and Hard Candy. Sunday Mornings. There are some great songs on this half, but its not even close to the first half consistency. 01. Washington Square - after Saturday Nights rocking half, this song comes a breath of fresh air. Being a chorus-less song, the choice of the instruments varies from the starting piano and guitar to end with bells, a banjo and two guitars, to avoid making it sound repetitive. 02. On Almost Any Sunday Morning - continuing with this calm, almost country-ish half, this song is pretty simple, with an acoustic guitar and a harmonica being the most important instruments; though there are a couple more instruments on the background that complete this great song's soothing atmosphere. 03. When I Dream Of Michelangelo - if you're reading this, you have probably listened to this song, just because it is available on the official site for free. A fun-fact about this song is that drummer Jim Bogios hits a book during the song, not a drum or any other commonly used percussion instrument. Continuing the country mood, this is clearly not the best song on this half. 04. Anyone But You - another great song. The first one on this half to break the calm mood on this half. Its more complex than the first three songs, but around the last minute or so, the song turns into noise rather than music. 05. You Can't Count On Me - another mood-breaker. Being the first single, this song would have gone better on the other half of the record, where electric guitars are more predominant and the beat is faster than in the second one. A bit monotonous, though. 06. Le Ballet D'Or - its complexity and greatly executed instrumentation make it the best song on this half. The difference between this song and the rest on the album is that the Crows rely on more unpredictable and dissonant chords on this one, rather than more layers of audio, as they use on most of their songs. 07. On A Tuesday In Amsterdam Long Ago - this song is a close cousin to Raining in Baltimore and Miller's Angels, from August and Everything After and Recovering the Satellites respectively. Its just piano and voice, and it gets a little repetitive, specially in the end. 08. Come Around - a great song to finish the record. A Maggie May-ish acoustic intro, followed by a clean electric with some D variations and the addition of the piano, the drums and another guitar. This is a solo-less song, something pretty uncommon on CC songs, and they pull it off quite well. Also, its electric, so the end of this half is quite different to the start of it.
Lyrics — 8
Saturday Nights has the betst sound. Lyrically, it's kind of the other way around. Sunday Mornings has cleverer lyrics as shown on Come Around or Le Ballet D' Or, for example. Adam Duritz shows as much feeling as he did on their first album, though better singing techniques and skills. His style could be described as a mix of Bob Dylan's and Van Morrison's, though he does have his unique touch that gets you inside the song, and makes you feel exactly as he says he feels. Unfortunately, some songs with great lyrics finish with the repeating of the same line over and over, and that takes away some of its greatness.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, it's a really great album, specially the first half. It really brings back all the good things the Crows had done on Recovering the Satellites, August and Everything After and the highly underrated This Desert Life. If it were stolen, I would definitely buy it again.