Beginning and ending a debut album crooning the lyrics "I'm never coming back again," it is plausible that David Poe intends some subliminal foreshadowing. The first track, "Telephone Song," falsely sets the tone for a boring conversation, but for the patient listener, Poe's raspy, nearly reticent whisper of a voice manages to vary range, perhaps taking its cue from the variety of instruments and rhythm in the songs that follow. Producer T-Bone Burnett (most notable for production on albums from Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, Counting Crows, and the Wallflowers) melds talents well with Poe's vocals and guitar & organ playing; he enlisted Sim Cain on drums, John Abbey on upright bass and guitarron, and Marc Ribot on banjo. It is the banjo and flamenco guitar riffs, in fact, that breathe passion into the album's highlights, "Apartment" and "Reunion" -- the latter mingling a country twang with unique, yet down-home images. The last few tracks weep with strings, organ, and bass befitting the romantic (however bitter) mood, in lines like "I hope you die slow," and "If I saw you getting beaten in the street I wouldn't let them hurt you/That privilege is reserved for me and I would bleed in sympathy." The final track, (discounting the 12th, hidden track that echoes the lament from the first), ironically titled "Settlement," reveals an energy that nearly goes untapped, and hints at what more Poe might offer, should he indeed choose to "come back again" in full force.
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AllMusic Review by Deanne Briggs