The liner notes to Tired Pony’s first album read like a “who’s who” of indie rock royalty, listing credits from the band’s core lineup -- including Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, producer/musician Jacknife Lee, and Belle & Sebastian's Richard Colburn -- and the hip guest list, which features cameos by the likes of Zooey Deschanel and M. Ward. Yet despite the full roster, The Place We Ran From sounds more like a Lightbody solo album than a collaborative project. Buck’s presence is barely felt, his guitar parts robbed of their trademark jangle and confined to anonymous Everyman riffs, and Jacknife Lee keeps the production fairly simple, a move that fails to spice up the album’s watered-down Americana. As the frontman of Snow Patrol, Lightbody usually restricts himself to simple melodies, which take on a greater significance when repeated over and over atop the band’s pounding, straightforward stadium rock. Tired Pony’s music is much more threadbare, though, and Lightbody doesn’t offer anything new to fill the void, sticking instead to a small handful of cyclical intervals that rarely sound inspired. On tracks like “Point Me At Lost Islands,” where weather metaphors share equal space with acoustic guitars and fiddle solos, the group manages to shake out the doldrums and hit a genuine stride. But the rest of the album doesn’t flow so well, and The Place We Ran From winds up amounting to far less than the sum of its parts.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey