[23 January 2008]
PopMatters Associate Music Editor
On Kate Tucker & the Sons of Sweden, Kate and company sound better when they slow it down. The album is book-ended by two stunning blue-light numbers. The first, “The Hours”, has Tucker sounding heartbroken and weary, with the band chugging behind her with enough restrain to keep the song from being melodramatic. “We won’t be going to sleep,” she sings, and she sounds believably at the end of her rope. Closer “In the End” is a little sweeter, and quieter, but has its own share of bitterness. Backed with vocals by Damien Jurado, the song is subtle and dark while being a beautiful and tuneful number. “In Your Dreams”, from the middle of the record, finds a similar success in the slow jam. But when they speed up the tempo, the band somehow loses a lot of energy, making many songs sound solid but not solid enough to avoid running together. 2007 was a good year for the female singer-songwriter, and Kate Tucker has moments worthy of attention on this album. But when the slow, sad songs are more energetic than the big-sounding rockers, then something in the sound is off.