Weaver shines on his rustic, assured fifth album.
At the still rather tender age of 26, Ben Weaver makes this his fifth album just as strong as his previous release, Stories Under Nails. With a deft delivery that brings to mind the likes of Nick Cave and Tom Waits, Weaver shines on the gorgeous and haunting “In November” and the slightly more up-tempo “Wings as Knives”, which sounds like a gravelly version of the Handsome Family. The album has a very rustic feeling to it, whether it is the barren “Plastic Bag” or the lovely “Like a Vine After the Sun”, both sounding as if they'd fit on Steve Earle’s comeback album Train a Comin’ or I Feel Alright. Even the politically motivated tracks like “The Unelected” soar with a great sense of timing. The only rock-oriented tune might be “Geisha” that has some raggedness. There are too many highlights here to pick one, but “Down 25” seems to symbolize the depth and strength of the material here. The same can be said for “Sorrow”, which has a Springsteen-circa-Nebraska feel to it.