Album Review: Yonder Mountain String Band – The Show

“Out of the Blue,” the strongest song on YMSB’s The Show, leads off the album, and false hopes abound in the song’s galloping rhythm and focused songwriting. The Show quickly becomes a real head-scratcher for YMSB fans with song number two – “Complicated” – which shares more than just a name with the horrible Avril Lavigne song. Vocalist Jeff Austin sounds strained and unnatural, and the music is strangely unremarkable given the band’s past songwriting successes. Unlike their last studio effort, which was a polished and engaging album that subtly moved the band beyond the trappings of bluegrass, The Show just tries to be too different. “Steep Grade Sharp Curves” is one of their finer recent efforts, but that’s about the extent of it. The modern country stomp of “Fingerprint” sounds like it was written to appease the merch-buying masses, and the experience declines even more from there. I could go on about how each track – from the incredibly boring “Honestly” to the sappy “Dreams” to the intolerable “Isolation” – is equally dissapointing as the album goes along, but there’s no need to pile on. YMSB is a great band that made a pretty significant miscalculation here.

Rating: 4.9 out of 10