I Know Your Troubles Been Long

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Mayday's second album, I Know Your Troubles Been Long, follows pretty closely in the footsteps of the critically admired debut. The record features the same blend of orchestral textures, dense lyrics, plaintive vocals, and unique instrumentation that the debut did. This time out, however, the lyrics are even more dense and literary; Ted Stevens' writing alternates between cryptic, spare tunes and rambling story songs that are reminiscent of some of Nick Cave's longer rambles. The music also creeps further into country/folk territory: "Running Away" is a super-charged hoedown, "Crawfish River" is a back-porch ramble complete with banjo, and "Lost Seranade" is a blissed-out country ballad with a nice, lazy trumpet solo. The album is at times mixed strangely, with all the instruments sounding jammed together in one frequency. The effect is claustrophobic and makes for a tough slog for the listener, especially on the completely fuzzed-out "Virginia" and the overly dense "Dyzfunctional Cuzin." One gets the feeling that Stevens is trying to jam way too many ideas and words into his songs. For a couple songs at a time (especially the lush opener, "Lone Star," and the energetic "Running Away"), it is not an unpleasant record, but listening to I Know Your Troubles Been Long in its entirety is a wearying experience.

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