Sound — 8
Singer-songwriter Pete Yorn was a forerunner to Landon Pigg's easy riding porch-folk and Matt Costa's coffeehouse-pop. His latest release Back And Forth is a folk-pop pleaser with slits of modern country and chamber infused acoustic rock latching frilly brass and string arrangements in the undertow of "Close" and blissfully mantle by soft guitar flutters. The glistering shimmers in the comfy chord progressions of "Social Development Dance" are bottled in an ambience that exudes a recreational feel, and the mid-tempo grooves of "Paradise Cove" and "Last Summer" kindle sunshiny coves and melodic extensions that take advantage of the wide open space. Yorn assembled a band that would bring out these open ambient vibrations consisting of drummer Joey Waronker from Beck's band, pianist/arranger Nate Wolcott, guitarist Jonny Polonsky, bassist Joe Karnes from John Cale's band, and backing vocalist Orenda Fink. The country-flint of "Thinking Of You" and "Country" jettison waves of crisp brushed strokes that resonate with the moxie of Lady Antebellum. He switches courses to the acoustic rock slings that spine "Don't Wanna Cry" and "Shotgun" which wields a tuneful coffeehouse rocking relatable to The Dixie Chicks. The soft porch-folk musings of "Four Years" are lassoed in gently winding acoustics, which turn to a mournful shading in "Long Time Nothing New," casting a sullen shadow in the outro of the album. Produced by Mike Mogis (Bright Eyes, Rilo Kiley), Back And Forth has influences of modern country and folk, and a whole lot of Pete Yorn's easy riding grooves.
Lyrics — 7
According to Yorn, the lyrics were written before the melodies. In the songs, he voices his private thoughts and makes observations about his life like in "Country" when he sings, "It was always me and you... And the days we were living, we were happy." In "Don't Wanna Cry," Yorn vows, "I don't wanna cry for you... I know men are not supposed to act this way... If I could be with you, you know I would." He sings like he is speaking to someone in particular, spinning lyrics from private conversations, articulating how he feels and sharing it with his audiences.
Overall Impression — 8
Fans of Pete Yorn's previous three albums will be pleased with his new record, Back And Forth, and everyone else will find these songs conducive to the ambiences of cafes and coffee houses. It's an easy listening album, a type of recreational pop, very middle of the road style of rock that makes the tunes attractive from the first play. Whether you take the album with you for a drive on the open road or to stay at home for some me-time, Back And Forth is an album that makes sense of your life. The lyrics relate to real-life experiences and the comfy-ness of the music makes it adjustable to fit into anyone's lifestyle some place.