Sound — 8
Only Way To Be Alone enters the music scene as a truly organic indie-folk album. Evolving from the geniuses of Keith (Good)win, Tim Arn>(old), and Dan Sch(war)tz (Get it?) is a piece of beauty worthy for the ears of any fan of the genre. Try picturing a Bright Eyes vibe mixed together with a touch of the oohhs and aahhs commonly found in 60s-era pop. The simple compilation of instruments by the Good Old War trio (acoustic guitars, vocal harmonization, and light drums) work magnificently to accentuate the rawness of the album. Stick-in-your-head tracks like Coney Island and Weak Man, which feature the vocal talents of Circa Survive's Anthony Green , fortunately, aren't few, though there are a couple of songs that can be questionable to taste as well as those that take two or three listens to totally appreciate. Many albums today are too overly tricked out by annoying studio funk and eccentric doodads that completely take away from the record's natural beauty. In the case of Only Way To Be Alone, an appropriate balance of simplicity and studio production is achieved. You can literally pick up an acoustic guitar and start jamming to many of the songs. With Good Old War's album, it being under-produced adds to the appeal of the tracks. For the most part, Only Way To Be Alone does a more than decent job in making listeners hit the repeat option on their iPods.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics complement the music nicely, retaining the down to earth feel. A plus for Only Way To Be Alone is that the simplicity of the lyrics don't take away from the album, if anything they make it better! A bit from the single Coney Island (I found a letter in the mail box today And I said thank you for your thoughts but I'm done I said that I would never build this up right here He said that's why I can't work with you son But I can't let this go I'm on my way And you can only hold my diamond ring I'll go crawling back to the city I love 'cause it's already taken everything) is the style throughout the album. The lyrics and music form a symbiotic relationship with each other, both only being effective and powerful if the light and airy format of the songs carry through from the words to the instruments. Lyrics are not overemphasized in Only Way To Be Alone. In general, you will probably find that the lyrics are quite literal, yet stay open for interpretation. The result of Good Old War's lyrics and music combo is an album with sing-along worthy tracks that tend to be very memorable.
Overall Impression — 9
Only Way To Be Alone launches off with the single Coney Island", setting the bar for the whole album. The album can be a little monotonous at times, but leaves a positive impression more times than not. There isn't an Aretha Franklin or a Frank Sinatra locked up in the pipes of the Good Old War fellas, but there's no doubt that they deserve a round of applause for the production of a magnificent record. Some favorable tracks that may appeal to new listeners include Coney Island, Looking For Shelter and Weak Man. Words won't do this album justice. I highly recommend Only Way To Be Alone to any follower of the indie-folk genre. Overall, Good Old War has produced a very listenable album as well as a good reason for fans to want more.