John Cowan's Always Take Me Back is layered with the slick sheen of production. The former New Grass Revival bassist/vocalist is in fine form vocally, though the material feels, if not contrived, then at least cluttered. The emotionally raw "18 Years," for example, is covered by a thick gloss. What should be snapping drums and penetrating acoustic guitars are filtered through a variety of shiny doublings. It sounds false. When Cowan's voice comes in on top, the listener just doesn't want to believe his angst, even as he lets loose with several long and well-sustained screams during the outro of the song. The same problems plague the bulk of the album. A basic tastelessness pervades the arrangements throughout. It would be a little more tolerable if the songs were better. On Always Take Me Back, Cowan sinks to cliché quickly and never really rises.
AllMusic Review by Jesse Jarnow
feat: Mark Nubar