Son Volt's dour Jay Farrar continues his quest for the world's slowest tempo, this time enlisting Varnaline leader Anders Parker in a (probably) one-off duo.
Gob Iron specializes in traditional folk and blues, with Farrar frequently reworking the lyrics. Stephen Foster's "Hard Times" is changed to great effect, though it bears little resemblance to the original. Farrar's sour drawl never has sounded better; he harmonizes with the significantly less-distinctive Parker seamlessly, and sounds more committed than he has in years.
The mostly acoustic instrumentation is fine' it will remind you of Uncle Tupelo's "March 16-20, 1992" album. One new Farrar track, "Buzz and Grind," an electric call to arms at the end of the disc, changes things up a little. All in all, it's a casual album that sounds like it was made in someone's house, behind the screen door.
- Rod Lott