After the Sadies’ festive 2006 blowout, the band seems to be in a much dourer place. Last year saw the group release a hootenanny of a live double-disc that featured plenty of friends, including Neko Case, Jon Spencer, and Jon Langford. In addition, the Sadies provided the soundtrack for the animated film Tales of the Rat Fink. But New Seasons finds the band exploring graver territory.
Most of the songs here settle into a ruminative rut. Much of the album’s lyrical content takes up the themes of the sad passage of time and what that can do to once-vibrant romantic relationships. Over the course of thirteen tunes, the brothers Travis and Dallas Good, who form the core of the Sadies, sing sour lines like, “Would you like to go to the place you were before” (“My Heart of Wood”) and, “How did we grow so very far from here/ When all I wanted was to feel you near” (“Land Between”).
Being brothers, it’s no surprise to find Travis and Dallas playing off each other well. Their vocals and their guitar licks have a deft way of intermingling. It’s this musicianship, especially on the Neil Young-like “Simple Aspiration” or the Dylanalia of “First Inquisition, Pt. 4,” that keeps New Seasons from being all bummer. But this album isn’t on par with the Sadies’ searing early material or recent similar country-rock albums from the likes of Oakley Hall or Okkervil River.