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Getting Home Before Dark

Charlie OwenVail CO, Colorado
Special to the Daily
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Home Before Dark Sony4 stars of 5Home Before Dark contains none of that flashy, poppy sound that so many Neil Diamond fans grew up with. Theres no Cherry, Cherry or Im A Believer to snap your fingers and dance to; only the raw, unpolluted songwriting of Diamond and the stripped-down production of Rick Rubin.Diamond is getting old. I know that, you know that, but most importantly he knows that. Being able to see more of the road behind than ahead of you has to do something to your creative expression, and much of Home Before Dark is grim and brooding, even if many of the lyrics contradict the tone of the album. Oh, its still Diamond, his voice and style is hard to mistake, but he has gone deeper than his previous work, including the Rubin-produced 12 Songs. In If I Dont See You Again he sings The time is perfect to go/Before the curtain descends/Right now when both of us know/That everythings got to end. Come on, how much more depressing can you get? Whether on purpose or by accident, Diamond bares his soul and maturity on his sleeve and if this album is any indicator, his best work could still be ahead of him. Charlie Owen, High Life writer

Glory Hope Mountain Paper Bag4 stars of 5If you took a Modest Mouse album, got rid of the 50 percent that is usually just noise and replaced it with sweet sounding, melodic tunes you would have something close to Glory Hope Mountain, The Acorns latest album. Of course, the entirety of Glory Hope Mountain never rocks out like a Modest Mouse album, but there are many similarities that make the comparison worthwhile.This Canadian folk rock (I guess you would call them that) five-piece has released a beautiful album for those who have a lot of patience. Flood Pt.1, the one song that could be a mainstream radio hit, comes early on and then the rest of the album settles back into its quaint little niche of quiet solitude.The album is an ode to frontman Rolf Klauseners mother, which explains much of the meaningful lyrics and peaceful slant of the music. What really stands out though is the broad instrumentation that the band uses to achieve its sound. There is a heavy focus on world and acoustic percussion that backs Klauseners ultra-talented vocal skills. Glory Hope Mountain may sound like a drifting journey through a lazy valley, but its a journey well worth the taking. Charlie Owen, High Life writer

Walk It Off Beggars Xl Recording3 stars of 5Like much of their 2006 debut The Loon, Minneapolis rockers Tapes n Tapes second release, Walk It Off, is a throwback to the days when independent rock meant that the band wasnt signed to a major label not that the band had tendencies toward light-hearted love songs and keyboard ornamentation.Tapes n Tapes came out of that 2006 run of retro rock bands that was most popularly fronted by The Hold Steady, and the Minnesota foursome continues on the simply stated mission to share a general, but optimistic, weariness with life.That lends Walk It Off to songs that are not especially uplifting, but are likable in that way where it feels like youve heard them before. On a second time through, just about everything on Walk It Off will feel like a nostalgic classic.And while none of the songs here will be as lasting as the tracks from Pavement or Broken Social Scene or The Shins that give them that instant familiarity, theyre a likable enough substitute for now. Margaret Hair, Steamboat Pilot & Today


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