Adams can be sweetly sentimental: "Ballad of Carol Lynn" is appealing and catchy, and "Jacksonville Skyline" has some deft imagery. But Adams can also be irresolute: "Sit & Listen to the Rain" is inappropriately mildewy, and "Don't Be Sad" is a downer, both lyrically and musically. Perhaps such tunes appeal to inside mopesters, but they don't carry an album. The best tune on the CD is "Paper Moon," which is also the least conventional. It sounds like an outtake from a Nilsson record, or maybe one by Van Dyke Parks. It's surreal, wistful, and beautifully arranged, with strings and flutes swooning behind Adams's most cynical and flexible vocal. With guests such as ex-Replacements/current Guns N' Roses bassist Tommy Stinson and Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha, Whiskeytown has made some beautiful music here. Too bad it didn't make a more cohesive album.
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