What does it sound like?:
Southeastern was one of the Afterword’s favourite albums of 2013, and while its successor may not be quite as immediate it certainly repays a patient acquaintanceship. There are killer tracks in spades here, subtle mournful melodies and instrumentation, and best of all Jason Isbell’s insightful and poetic lyrics – exemplified by these lines from Flagship, ‘And the couple in the corner of the bar / have traveled light and clearly traveled far / She’s got nothing left to learn about his heart / They’re sitting there a thousand miles apart’. 24 Frames, Children Of Children, Something More Than Free and Speed Trap Town are amongst the highlights to this set of ears, but there ain’t a duff track here.
What does it all *mean*?
It’s the sound of a man hitting his creative stride, musically and lyrically, fulfilling all the promise of earlier work. It’s also a candidate for album of the year.
Goes well with…
Southeastern, of course. Driving at dusk at the end of a summer’s day, quiet moments of reflection.
Might suit people who like…
Ryan Adams, Lyle Lovett at his most thoughtful, Townes Van Zandt.