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The Long Surrender (Bonus Track Version)

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Album Review

It's been interesting to watch Over the Rhine's stylistic evolution over the 20 years since Till We Have Faces, their debut album: their sound wasn't far removed from the American heartland to begin with, but these days it's getting close to Tom Waits territory, what with the barely-in-tune pianos, the mandolins, the slide guitars, the humid-summer-evening tempos, and Karin Bergquist's increasingly smeary approach to sung pitch. There's also more than a touch of Lucinda Williams in her grainy vocal tone and her slushy consonants — which are nearly nonexistent on "Rave On" — and when Williams herself makes a cameo appearance on "Undamned" you may not even notice her. Then there are the lyrics: Bergquist's tend to be evocatively minimalist and impressionistic ("Rave On,") while those written by Linford Detweiler, her husband and musical partner, tend to be discursive and rambling ("Undamned," "Infamous Love Song"), and tend to address more directly the religious themes that used to be more prominent in Over the Rhine's songs than they are now. There are times when the early-Americana theme starts feeling a bit heavy-handed, such as on the torchy "Infamous Love Song," which sounds kind of like a Kurt Weill outtake and the melody of which owes a bit too much to "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" But more often their approach balances old, new, and whimsical perfectly: "Only God Can Save Us Now" has a lightness at its heart that is belied by both its title and its madhouse lyrics, and Greg Leisz's perfect slide guitar embroiders several songs with various shades of gold thread. Despite the occasional moment when you might find yourself wishing Bergquist would stop pretending to have a speech impediment, this is a masterful album that is sure to please this band's ever-growing cult of followers.

Customer Reviews

Pitch Perfection

An album brooding with emotion delivered with a soulful sound. Almost as if from a different era this album screams classic despite it being a new release. With the history of OTR it is not surprising that this album is perfect. Concluding I'd like to say this album will make you feel fuzzy and is perfect to listen to with that special someone this Valentines Day.

Post-postmodern Gospel to Lift us Through the Apocalypse

After listening to "The Trumpet Child" I drove 8 hrs by myself to experience it live. Now I may just have to move to Ohio!

Thankfully, this album transports us into the heart of Nowhere…

Biography

Formed: 1989 in Cincinnati, OH

Genre: Singer/Songwriter

Years Active: '90s, '00s, '10s

Over the Rhine had already developed a large and intensely loyal following in their native Cincinnati, Ohio before they independently released their first two albums, Till We Have Faces (1991) and Patience (1992). Their music, which they aptly dubbed "post-nuclear, pseudo-alternative, folk-tinged art-pop," is difficult to pigeonhole. They have been compared to 10,000 Maniacs, the Innocence Mission, U2, and Shawn Colvin, but the band's personality seems to owe more to its literary influences (which...
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