As disparate as debut Novena on a Nocturn was, Black Out is even more courageous. The album employs moodier instrumentation, creating a melancholic disposition that's as discomfiting as it is winsome. Though the record can get quite intense -- and with the stark, dark lyrics of Tim Kasher, often delivered in an eerie baritone, things get quite profound and stay that way even after it's over -- it is definitely the mellowest drama that Kasher has been involved with to date. The '80s feel of the debut resurfaces, especially on the Americana-esque "Off the Beaten Path" and the discordantly memorable "Empty Bed," which suggests the Cure's Robert Smith singing along to a Fixx melody that U2 are playing. While this prominent vibe does rekindle a somewhat nostalgic musing, make no mistake: Black Out is a thoroughly modern invocation possessing a subdued, almost unspoken power that is even more so by being so consciously clear of clutter.
AllMusic Review by Brian O'Neill