Lee Ranaldo - Between The Times & The Tides
I dare you to try listening to "Waiting on a Dream," the opener from Lee Ranaldo's latest, without expecting any minute that its sorta familiar riff will burst out finally into a full-blown "Paint in Black." It never does, but it is an odd way to feel as you engage with "Between The Times & The Tides." Ranaldo explores song structure more explicitly than he has previously, and he seems to have zeroed in on power pop and slightly dark psych as his touchstones. Long-time fans expecting feedback and spoken word may not be won over easily, but this is a confident, oddly soulful record that features some of the best singing and writing of his career. Not enough to totally save it, however.
On the upside, "Off The Wall" is a pure pop confection, with a driving melody and earnest lyrics. "Hammer Blows" is a gorgeous, and gorgeously ragged acoustic with jaundiced but romantic lyrics ("It is good to have you back/I wasn't ready for a change"). Then it gets weird.
"Xtina As I Knew Her" unwinds like a lite Neil Young tune, complete with a languid, watered down Young-esque solo; the mix of pop, prog and fusion on "Angles" might be hardest for old fans to dig. And ‘Fire Island (phases)," well,... at times recalls everyone from America to The Call to the Beatles, an odd, strange mess.
"Lost (plane t Nice)" is another gem, though, a driving majestic rock track that sounds like a Sonic Youth without distortion.
The songs on "Between The Times & The Tides" brewed together while Lee Ranaldo was in France last year, and were built off of a couple of acoustic performances. Given the power of his more acoustic based tracks here, and his knack for melody, this might have been stronger had he skewed to that approach. While the pop songs have their moments, they are often too lightweight or disjointed to really satisfy.
User Reviews and CommentsLog In or Register to Rate Albums
Tell us why this album is great or sucks ass, or correct the reviewer. If you write enough quality reviews you may find yourself on the editorial staff.
Reviews have to be over 100 words, shorter ones are classed as comments.