But for a couple of moody rockers, Pete Yorn’s Back & Fourth is largely acoustic, marrying ’70s Cali folk-rock to the modern-day Nebraska sound (Bright Eyes collaborator Mike Mogis produced). That’s the only marrying going on. With lines like ”I can never love you? like the way you love me,” Yorn’s nursing a case of dumper’s ? remorse, without being guilty or gleeful enough for real catharsis.
Still mellow, but darker lyrics on singer/songwriter’s latestTousled-haired crooner Pete Yorn approached Back & Fourth, his first album in three years, in a different musical environment. Sheltered by the surroundings of Middle America for the first time, Yorn shared his solitude with a group of musicians that took the instruments from his hands as he concentrated on writing the lyrics to some of the darkest, deepest songs of his career. The first single off the album, “Don’t Wanna Cry,” is a broken-heart anthem, and a melancholy voice throughout gives away to conflicting feelings about moving forward.
Pete Yorn throws open the studio doors with Back & Fourth, his first album to feature heavy contributions from a backing band. Drummer Joey Waronker, guitarist Jonny Polonsky, and former Azure Ray vocalist Orenda Fink are among those featured, and the presence of producer Mike Mogis -- chief architect of the Saddle Creek sound -- gives the material a tasteful gloss. Traces of Californian folk-rock can be found throughout these ten tracks, particularly in the jangle of "Last Summer" and the breezy, coastal sway of "Paradise Cove." Nonetheless, Yorn's fourth album is a fairly depressed affair, eschewing the West Coast's sunny weather for the lonely, windswept vistas of Nebraska, where the album was recorded in early 2008.
On Back and Fourth, Pete Yorn’s easy folk/pop singer-songwriter qualities are alive and well. This album is very easy to listen to, but uneven songwriting keeps it in the midrange when Yorn could be capable of brilliance. Yorn has a beautiful voice with an aching timbre, as heard on the album’s opener “Don’t ‘Wanna Cry” (not a Mariah Carey cover).