One for the Ride

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One for the Ride makes a strong argument for Waxwing as the true heirs to the legacy of the early and stunning work of U2 -- it's polished without being slick, emotional without being emo and bombastic without being shallow. The dark and foreboding opener, "All of My Prophets" sets the tone of the album, as Rocky Votolato, one of the most unique voices in rock, leads listeners on a dynamic journey through the scrappy highways and byways of folk punk. The title track seems touched on the edges by a Southwestern vibe, a feeling of travel and wandering and deserts. "Kill the Messenger" steps up the energy of the record with a feverish blare and then its back to the territory of Calexico, the Friends of Dean Martinez and Black Heart Procession on the loping but sublime "Industry" and the punk western showdown tune "There Will Be a Reckoning"." Waxwing never really sounds like any other single band, because each song incorporates so many styles and genres. It may be relatively gentle in approach, but from the angular swirl of "Where Did the Time Go" to the longing "Laboratory" ("I remember January may be cold and wet here ,but someone's singing summer songs in Australia"), One For the Ride is one of the most confident and distinctive albums of the early 00s.

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