What used to be Krist Krueger’s one-man band expanded six-fold for Storyteller and the Gossip Columnist, the second full-length under the Southerly moniker. The band hails from Portland, Oregon, and the bleakness running throughout the album furthers the contrived idea of the Northwest being dreary. No song here is longer than four minutes, but that seems less to be mostly a result of Southerly’s inability to carve serious depth into any specific niche.
In “Close to the Crime,” for example, the vocals seem at odds with the ambience of the song’s crashing drums and deep instrumentation. The violin and piano makes “Soldiers” interesting, but it comes to a close after only a few airy verses. Much of the album follows course: vocal and instrumental dissidence despite flashes of harmony. “How to Be a Dreamer” and “When We Have to Go” are among the highlights, mostly because each song’s focus on the guitar suits Southerly’s soft-spoken vocals.