Thursday, July 1, 2010

Living With War - In the Beginning

What a difference production can make. Essentially the live studio tracks from Living With War, minus the 100-strong choir, the stripped down sound of In the Beginning significantly changes the tone of the album. The lack of the choir; the grungy, less polished sound; and especially Neil's frail, Tonight's the Night-esque straining-for-the-notes vocals... it makes the album sound personal, intimate, and like its coming from a place of passion moreso than self-righteousness.

The material is still inconsistent, the lyrics still make it too much of a relic. "Let's Impeach the President" will always be an obnoxiously smug song, no matter how its played. But the good songs (especially "After the Garden," "Living With War," and "Flags of Freedom") are even better now, and this is by far the preferable of the two albums.

Rating: C +

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