Sound — 8
I was introduced to Joe Lally through his work with Fugazi and Ataxia, and was impressed with his strong voice (most notably on "Montreal") and approach to bass. Joe stays close to his roots on this album, with fellow Washington musicians collaborating (including Ian Mackaye of Fugazi) and also Jerry Busher, another who has worked with John Frusciante. The albums sound is built around Joes bass, with percussion adn occasionally a guitar featured in the background, which creates more of a bleak beat than a melody. This allows focus to fall onto the lyrics.
Lyrics — 8
Joe never lets his voice soar, as it did on "Montreal", and instead relies upon a more gentle spoken sound. This, whilst in keeping with the minimalistic sound of the record, never allows Joe to really let loose and pin the listeners ears back. The lyrics themselves are very good: bare and good use of repetition to emphasise meaning, shown best in "Sons And Daughters", which also showcases Joes talent for political commentary.
Overall Impression — 8
After hearing Joes voice on "Montreal", I was a little disappointed that there are no similar moments on "There To Here", as I was about the little few guitars. However, Joes lyrics and bass make for a sobering album, compared to the celebratory feel to many around. His political tone in "Sons And Daughters" and "Pick A War", accompanied by the brilliant "Billiards" make for a promising debut. If this album were stolen, I would congratulate the thief on his fine choice.