STYLE: Roots/Acoustic RATING OUR PRODUCT CODE: 10551-9869 LABEL: Rough Trade RTRADCD170 FORMAT: CD Album ITEMS: 1 RRP: £13.99
Reviewed by Mike Rimmer
IN THE MAINSTREAM In case you didn't know, it's pronounced SOOF-YAHN and Stevens is one of a new generation of American singer/songwriters who are mixing their spirituality with some interesting musical accomplishments and letting critics make what they like of it all. Released before the current 'Seven Swans' album, this album pays tribute to this Michigan native's home state. Piano, banjo and trumpet intertwine in pleasant fashion and complicated arrangements as Sufjan's vocals are augmented by Elin Smith's lovely voice on half the songs here. Thematically, there's a yearning Job-like quality to "Oh God Where Are You Now?" and "Holland" is something rare in the Stevens repertoire - a love song! Favourites for me are "Flint" with its piano and trumpet interplay and the brilliant jazzy "All Good Naysayers.Speak Up!" He jokes that he is planning on recording another 50 albums dealing with all American states but somehow I don't think he's going to achieve it.
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