It was nearly eight years before Alex McManus completed a proper follow-up to the Bruces' debut album, the vinyl-only limited-press Hialeah Pink. In the interregnum, McManus worked as a member of Lambchop and Empire State as well as performing with Vic Chesnutt, Simon Joyner, and Bright Eyes. War of the Bruces is the fruit of all this labor. Honing his abilities in these outfits, there is a huge leap in musical maturity and accomplishment between the first and second Bruces albums. War presents 11 songs focusing on the down-and-out life, small snapshots of epiphanies rising from the mundane, colored by banjo, subtle use of keyboards, and the occasional horn or two. Fans of Simon Joyner will find a kindred sprit in the Bruces. It's obvious that these two storytellers have had an enormous influence on one other.
AllMusic Review by Jason Nickey