Formats and Editions
Reviews:It must be incredibly frustrating to be Gary Louris. After softening the groundfor Americana roots rock, Louris sees Jeff Tweedy crowned alt-country's king on the basis of a noisily ambitious album two years after the Jayhawks' fussy, gorgeous and relatively unnoticed masterstroke Smile. That's just the latest example in the Jayhawks' 15+ year history of high profile anonymity.
The Jayhawks have been picked so often to hit with each subsequent album they're likely tired of being reminded that they've not yet arrived, at least in the boffo chart action context. Beyond that crass assessment, and in terms of creative and conceptual achievement, the Jayhawks are one of America's most successful and honest bands. Since the heartbreaking dust of 1997'sSound of Lies and the constructionist luster of 2000's Smile didn'topen the door, it's absurd to think Rainy Day Music, the Jayhawks'seventh and perhaps best album, can accomplish what its powerhouse brethren could not, but Louris and company spring eternal. Rainy Day Music is the melancholy proof.
On Rainy Day Music, Louris strikes a balance between Sound of Lies'desolation and Smile's painstaking lushness. The sprightly Byrds-like guitar/banjo jangle of "Stumbling Through the Dark" and the squalling Neil Young-ian pop of "Tailspin" serve notice of the Jayhawks'intention to play hard but not to excess, with arrangements never straying farfrom live-in-the-studio immediacy. Rainy Day Music is likely not the Jayhawks' commercial breakthrough, but it is another serious contender for one of the year's best. That may have to be enough to satisfy Gary Louris' perennial disappointment.
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