It’s Y2K, but Acoustic Junction sounds like its heart is still in the country/folk-rock of the early 1970s. The songs on Strange Days might have been outakes on albums by The Band, or So Cal acts like Jackson Browne or the Eagles, or English bands like Lindisfarne and Pentangle. In fact, that bit of name-dropping ought to be enough to help most record-buyers decide on this one. If you don’t like these groups, you’re likely to find Strange Days a waste of time. However, if any disc without a dulcimer, mandolin, lots of acoustic guitars and a soulful piano ballad seems inauthentic, Acoustic Junction’s latest might be worth a listen.
Lead singer and guitarist Red Foehl wrote or co-wrote most of the tracks. The songs are chorus-heavy—by the end of any given number you can be pretty certain of the title even without looking at the liner notes. The lyrics are about love, mostly lost: there’s lots of saying goodbye and heading on down the road. Musically, Acoustic Junction is a more-than-capable band, though there’s no really spectacular playing on Strange Days.
As much as I admire the catchy tunesmithing responsible for “Every Heart,” “Goodbye World” and “Oh Me Oh My,” ultimately, Strange Days, at over 67 minutes, is simply too long. Too many songs drag on well past the point when their charm has ended. Acoustic Junction would have done well to pay heed to their vinyl forebears and trim the record down to an old-fashioned 40 minutes.
// Notes from the Road
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