Sunday, December 27, 2009

Pete Yorn - Back and Fourth

Earlier this year, Pete Yorn returned to the scene with his fourth studio album appropriately titled Back and Fourth. Since his debut album, musicforthemorningafter, Pete has been chasing down the sound that catapulted him to the front of the indie music scene, with some critics hailing him the next Springsteeen. His sound has mellowed over the albums, and his last record, Nightcrawler, was his most acoustic/folky sounding yet. So, does Back and Fourth find Pete returning to the heavier rock that made him famous? Is this an album that must be owned? Let’s spin the disc and find out!

Back and Fourth is not an album that hits you right away. This record came out over the summer and the reason that it’s only getting reviewed now is because I didn’t like it much when I first listened to it. It took a while for the CD to grow on me. I played it a couple of times and put it away. Then, recently, I picked it up again. The time off to age made this album incredible. It went from a wasted investment that was never listened to, to an incredible disc that got continuous play.

Back and Fourth is on the mellow side, but still packs a lot of powerful emotions. Themes of growing up, getting over things lost, finding new love, and putting the past to rest are all captured. Pete leans more on the acoustic guitar this time around, but makes it work. This collection of songs is meant to be easy with an occasional rocker that picks up the pace and charges the record when necessary.

Don’t Wanna Cry is the first song. It’s a simple, emotional cut that sets the mellow tone for the record. Pete’s acoustic guitar work is imminent and shows his ability as a guitarist. This is a nice opener that sets forth what’s to come.

Social Development Dance is an excellent track that tells an exceptional story. This song could be inspiration for an incredible short story. This is the tale of two lost young lovers and when the male protagonist tries to find his youthful sweetheart years later he can’t. It sends him on a breathless, whirlwind search only to learn in the end that she has died. He never had his chance to say goodbye. This is a powerful song when listened to the first time.

Shotgun is the heaviest track on the record. A rocking tune that blends elements of jazz with hard rock, this song is a winner for the best on the disc. A nifty bass riff kicks the song off before Pete’s high range vocals leap in to build the premise. Then the chorus explodes in a massive mesh of drums, cymbals, guitars, and strings. Pete’s voice is at its finest, making Shotgun an incredible track. His blistering guitar solo cements the awesomeness of the song.

Long Time Nothing New closes out Back and Fourth in a similar fashion to the way it was opened. Only instead of mellow guitar, this song opens with a slow, jazzy piano riff that is quite attractive. Long Time Nothing New is a solid record closer and serves as the perfect book end to Don’t Wanna Cry. The power and emotion is felt in both Yorn’s vocals and the soft driven piano. This is a song that can be felt more than heard and it is an amazing closer.

Back and Fourth is an excellent record, though it does take some time to get into. It’s not an album that will overwhelm after one or two listens, but it is an album that will be deemed a near masterpiece after a length of time. Yorn has delivered his best work since his debut and this is one of the best releases of 2009.

Track Listing
Don’t Wanna Cry
Paradise Cove
Social Development Dance
Last Summer
Thinking Of You
Four Years
Long Time Nothing New

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