Are You Ready
First Appeared in The Music Box, November 2005, Volume 12, #11
Written by John Metzger
On Palace of Gold, Blue Rodeo escaped its increasingly formulaic approach to songwriting by incorporating an array of strings and horns into its work, and although the experimentation led to a few awkward moments, its overall impact yielded the groupís most engaging collection of songs in quite some time. Its latest outing Are You Ready continues the bandís deft waltz among jangly country overtones, soaring í60s pop, and thrashing garage-rock grooves, though it also is decidedly more restrained and focused than its predecessor. In fact, the only meandering misstep on the album is Phaedraís Meadow, a tune that is sunk by its claustrophobically delicate arrangement. As for the rest of the material, it is remarkably inspired. The opening Canít Help Wondering Why overflows with the radiant sunshine of The Turtles; I Will puts a í70s-era spin upon the ethereal wispiness of Roy Orbisonís blue-hued heartache; Rena invokes a breezy blend of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Buffalo Springfield, and The Byrds; and Tired of Pretending finds common ground among Alejandro Escovedo, Paul McCartney, and Elvis Costello while also fusing their essence into a slowly unraveling torrent of emotional wreckage. Indeed, Are You Ready feels as if Blue Rodeoís rebirth has come to fruition, and although its tasteful evocation of the past isnít exactly groundbreaking, the collection is so expertly arranged that the ensembleís blatant appropriations are instantly forgivable.
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box