[14 June 2009]
It’s obvious from the very first song on Bye and Bye, that Winnipeg’s the Western States are deep, and I mean deep in the counsel of Whiskeytown’s classic Stranger’s Almanac. Frontman and songwriter Sean Buchanan’s songs all traffic in earnest, rootsy language and Wurlitzer-peppered alt-country arrangements. The result is a steady, uniform record that rarely summits or plummets. The band has a sturdy grasp of classic Americana structures and melodies, but rarely transcends them or reveals much of their own character. The songs are mostly mid-tempo, drowsy turns through dusty towns and the forlorn chambers of the heart. This album aptly recalls the heyday of ‘90s No Depression romanticism, but unfortunately it doesn’t dig very deep into that fertile soil.