When I first listened to All Dies Down I thought it was kind of a one note album. Over the next few weeks something kept tugging at me and trying to pull me back to listen it again. It turns out that I was wrong in my initial assessment and that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I like to live by the motto “I’ll try anything two or three times, it may be an acquired taste!” The way its grown on me has been subtle but what hooked me and drew me back so that it could are the vocals. Of course that led to really paying attention to the lyrics which are, in the end, what sold me on this one.
Of course listening to this off and on over the last couple of weeks I’ve realized what didn’t catch me as well and that provides an interesting dichotomy. Take the first track, “Be Your Eyes”, with lyrics like:
Twistin’ on a line and hopin’ to unwind some pain
Let’s not keep the photographs of all the broken paths we take
Please don’t let this pain be your eyes…
which are utterly amazing. Then what, you might ask, didn’t grab me the first time? Well it’s the music itself to be perfectly honest. It’s got an “indie” vibe to it that just didn’t grab me. But then there are tracks like “Factory Line” which is perfect in its execution as far as I am concerned and I could listen to it just about any time. Of course that indie feel I mentioned is part of the heart of alt-country that I’ve never really understood. While standing on its own this album looks back at the heyday of Wilco and Whiskeytown and draws deeply from that well. While there are parts of that era that I really enjoy there’s a definite dipping in to the indie well that I don’t really feel. I know that actually admitting that makes me a Philistine but I really don’t care that much. If you’re a fan of that era then this whole album will grab you from the get go. If you’re like me it’ll take more than one listen but it’ll grow on you as it did on me. This is most definitely an album that deserves being given a chance.
Overall the songwriting carries the day on this on All Dies Down and that’s never a bad thing. Even on the tracks that harken to an era that’s not my favorite they are more than enough to have kept me coming back. This is another strong release from our buddies at This Is American Music (you should check out their catalog if you haven’t) and Fire Mountain should be damn proud of this record.