Daniel Amos' first record after their career landmark Darn Floor Big Bite marks a substantial change in direction. Instead of the jagged, icy new wave that dominated that record, Kalhoun opts for direct, guitar-driven rock & roll. Though the band doesn't sound nearly as inventive or daring as they did on Darn Floor, there is a warmth to the songs on Kalhoun that the band had previously managed only in fits and starts. "If You Want To" is one of the best songs Terry Taylor has ever written -- a big, anthemic sonnet that is instantly reminiscent of the Replacements. "I Will Return" and "Big, Warm, Sweet, Interior Glowing" are subtle acoustic works constructed around deftly gliding choruses and Taylor's image-driven wordplay. By far the most potent offering is "Father Explains," a bold look at the Gulf War from the confused perspective of an Arab child. Less successful are the out-and-out rock numbers, like the vitriolic title track and "Virgin Falls." Daniel Amos has never been an especially good punk band, and the amped-up numbers on Kalhoun only accentuate those weaknesses. Kalhoun also feels deflating because it finds Daniel Amos settling into a steady, proven form rather than favoring the obtuse arrangements that colored their strongest work. As a comeback record, Kalhoun is strangely understated. For a band often characterized by their adventurous spirit, Daniel Amos sounds remarkably subdued.
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AllMusic Review by J. Edward Keyes