The Album Leaf
February 4, 2002
Better Looking Records
Hungry for a Holiday finds strength in its restraint. Oberst’s Bowie-esque vocals and the flowing composition of the song work well together but it takes a while until the track reaches a real point of excitement but when it does in the final part of the track, even the excitement has a certain restraint on it and never completely ‘goes for it’. Apart from that, Hungry for a Holiday is a pretty good tune.
Bad Blood is a little stranger but works equally well. Mystery is built up early in the song which serves as an introduction to what’s coming. The lo-fi recording feels like the vocals are coming from a distant place, piercing through the veil of the listener’s dimension, slowly creeping in. The arrangements builds up the suspense more and more by adding to its intensity.
LaValle seems to be back on track after a disappointing record last year. The addition of vocals was a risk but the risk pays off. Especially since Oberst has the same kind of artistic awkwardness that LaValle portrays in his songwriting. This makes for a great match and a solid release.