Release Date: Jun 30, 2009
Record label: Atlantic
Genre(s): Rock, Alternative
Listening to cradlesong, the second album from Matchbox Twenty singer/songwriter Rob Thomas, it's hard not to think of him as a man out of time, making big music for a world of miniature niches. Thomas makes music as if it was the turn of the millennium, when there were cross-demographic radio formats and stores to goose sales to diamond status, traits that still serve him well when he's constructing sonic skyscrapers, even if the results don't necessarily feel at home in the modern skyline. With its urgent hooks and surging sincerity, cradlesong is recognizably Thomas' work, right down to its lower-case typography, but with the assistance of longtime producer Matt Serletic he's tweaked the formula of his 2005 solo debut Something to Be in judicious ways, using his worldbeat inflections as an underpinning instead of flair, something that ties the album together.
One doesn’t look to the Matchbox Twenty frontman for musical daredevilry, but his second solo disc falls too often into the mom-rock safety net. Cradlesong does best when he pushes a little, as on the trippy,? sprawling ”Fire on the Mountain.” ? C+.
SON VOLT“American Central Dust”(Rounder) Movement and stasis face off in bitter opposition throughout “American Central Dust,” the stoic but sympathetic new Son Volt album. For Jay Farrar, the band’s lead singer and songwriter, stillness equals sickness, and locomotion means release. “Lonely roads and freight trains/Will keep us sane,” he sings on “No Turning Back,” a tribute to restless determination.