Artist: Pete Yorn
Release Date: Tuesday, Sept. 28
Rating (Skip, Stream, Buy): Skip
It could have been marketing, it could have been timing, but for whatever reason, Pete Yorn's first trio of barn-storming records (Musicforthemorningafter, Day I Forgot, and Nightcrawler), didn't make him a household name or able pack the big rooms that always seemed just out of reach. His straight-ahead rock wasn't garage enough for the rock revival of the early 2000s, nor was it indie enough to sit alongside the wunderkinds in the later part of the decade.
On paper, Yorn's made all the right moves: He's written could-be hits, come out of his shell on stage, collaborated successfully with one of the biggest bands in the world (Dixie Chicks), and even made a records with a starlet (2009's Break Up, with the Scarlett Johansson). But here he is now on his fifth solo album, still waiting to getting tipped to the next place.And on this Frank Black-produced, self-titled record for Vagrant--a departure from his longtime home, Columbia--Yorn sounds frustrated, searching for his voice, and hoping that a driving guitar record will do the trick. It all feels so paralyzing. Mid-album tracks like "Sans Fear" sound like standard Yorn fare hit straight down the middle, but after five albums of this, he's having a hard time finding something new, and he's beginning to ramble.
Even if tracks like "Come Back Home" or "For Us" had made Yorn a star he'd be due for a makeover (one that Black does not provide here). But Yorn seems caught up in an existential struggle. It's hard to believe that Yorn doesn't have some gems left inside of him, but they're not getting uncovered under these conditions.