[9 March 2009]
In 2006, San Saba County got innovative with their second album, It’s Not the Fall That Hurts, by effortlessly entwining the brooding sounds of ‘80s indie rock around their country-music roots. Fast-forward two years, and with the template set, the Austin-based quartet have returned with more of what frontman John Saba likes to describe as “post-alt-country.” This time around, however, the music is infinitely bleaker. ... Though Cheating Was Never an Option is a bracing ride of despair that retells tales of heartache and loneliness. Highlights are powered by foot-to-the floor drums and droning guitar that conjure up images of the Pastels in stetsons as on the atmospheric country-psych of “5th Time Around” and the hallucinatory “Summer Solstice”.