Sound — 7
There is one drawback of a brilliant debut album: it makes the second album's expectations skyrocket, to sometimes unmatchable heights. Ray Lamontagne turned in a brilliant album in 2004, complete with great songs and great production. Here, Ray's songs are excellent as well. They might not be as great as some of Trouble's better songs, but are still great Ray Lamontagne songs. The problem lies within the production on some of the tracks. While the string arrangements on "Empty" make it one of the best tracks on the record, they go too far on tracks such as "Be Here Now" or "Can I Stay?" The album's leading single, "Three More Days," is an excellent rock tune, but perhaps will draw too many comparisons to troubles "How Come." Perhaps a waste of a track, "Truly, Madly, Deeply" is a short instrumental, something Ray Lamontagne fans don't want to hear. The brilliant folk of Trouble isn't present on this album, due to some overdone string and horn arrangements. Though the extra instruments do pay off, i.e. the piano on "Empty."
Lyrics — 9
One thing the production can't help or hurt on an album is the lyrics. Ray Lamontagne proved with Trouble that he's an emotional lyricist who knows how to get to your heart quickly. Here, Ray's brutally honest lyrics, coupled with his already haunting voice make the album much of what it is. When Ray belts "Bring it on home" in "Three More Days," one can understand the passion that he brings to the words he writes. He sings it like he means it.
Overall Impression — 7
New Ray Lamontagne fans might enjoy this album, and will possibly deem it better than Trouble. This is just a natural part of being a fan, and hanging on to what you discover first. Long time Ray fans will either love it or hate it, intensely. There may be no in between for Ray fanatics, and that could be very dangerous for his current fan base. However, this record is sure to give Ray more success, as long as "Three More Days" can hold it's own as the first single.