Jesse Sykes & the Sweet Hereafter

Reckless Burning

  • AllMusic Rating
    8
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Taking what talents they've garnered from previous bands such as Hominy and Whiskeytown, lead singer Jesse Sykes and guitarist Phil Wandscher are onto something far bigger than the two could have foreseen. The opening title track lends itself as much to Margo Timmins as it does to a latter-day Lucinda Williams à la "Lonely Girls" in its almost morose tempo and arrangements, making the nearly seven-minute song glide along effortlessly and, to the listener, far shorter. The following numbers offer the same barren sounds, evoking images of members recording the songs in a log cabin. The well-trodden but solidly produced tracks never waver, especially "Doralee" and the slightly upbeat, honky tonk of "Lonely Hill." Resembling a trace of Neil Young's "Harvest Moon," the tune discusses heartbreak over a cross between Appalachian music and traditional country twang. "Don't Let Me Go" is another fine gem that doesn't stray too far from Sykes' strong points. While not having a dynamic range, she certainly knows what works. Only on "Drinking With Strangers," with its harmonies and backing instruments, does it sound a bit forced and too over-the-top. Returning to the melodic, swaying sound of "Love Me, Someday," the band is very well versed in a quasi dirge-country. A very sound and gentle series of heartbreaking vignettes makes this album so adorable.

blue highlight denotes track pick