Sound — 10
Gov't Mule maintained their own style which is a wild mix of Bluesrock, Southern Rock, Classic Rock mingled with a bit Psychedelic. They are on the fine line between doing to much and doing to little experiments. Some tracks could have been on their first record which was a full Bluesrock thing (Railroad Boy, Inside Outside Woman Blues, Scenes From A Troubled Mind), but others sound real weird in a positive way. Example for those are Broke Down On The Brazos, Steppin' Lightly and Monday Morning Meltdown. And there's a third group of songs which sound quite like Classic Rock (Any Open Window, Frozen Fear, Forevermore). But each song has the special note which is typical for Gov't Mule - The note of honest music! The guitar sounds often raw, bass and drums get along perfectly and the hammond/piano embellishes their unique songs.
Lyrics — 9
Warren Haynes has undeniable an awesome voice. His voice has all aspects which a voice of a rock singer has to have - It sounds powerful, filthy and real passionate. The lyrics are a mix of classic lyrics (that sort of woman thing) and real, real good and storytelling lyrics. It's good that the last kind of lyrics are more, so they're not too clich. The compliance of the lyrics with the music is perfect, I would say. Sometimes Warren even plays with the guitar some notes he just sang.
Overall Impression — 10
Gov't Mule did with "By A Thread" a strong and energized record. There are some songs which I really can't get out of my mind and the mentioned mix of styles is perfectly. Gov't Mule maintained their style, but did nevertheless one step forwards. They are a kind of band which is getting fewer. Gov't Mule are making handmade, emotional and pure music. Amazing!