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The Sadies updates: 2011-07-12 00:00:00
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Bands get worse over time; it’s an immutable law. Not THE SADIES. After a dozen years and eight (or is it nine?) albums (excluding their collaborations with Andre Williams, Neko Case et al.) The Sadies just get better and better. And with Darker Circles they’ve made their strongest and most fully realized work to date. It’s tempting to write that the band has ‘matured’, but in rockcritspeak that’s usually code for ‘old, tired and boring’—which they are not. The Sadies can still out-sing, out-pick and out-rock anyone out there, but there’s a new depth to their songwriting now, a process they began to perfect on 2007’s New Seasons but which has blossomed here in spectacular fashion.
As the title suggests, Darker Circles is a more somber, soul searching affair than its predecessor. There’s a haunting, spiritual quality to songs like Kut Corners, Tell Her What I Said, Whispering Circles and The Quiet One; ghosts of regret and lost love reverberate softly between the vocals and guitars or “drift like whispers that echo in your mind.” Even when the band rocks out, like on the fuzz-drenched garage-psych opener, Another Year Again, the lyrics wrestle with themes of failure, rejection and mortality.
In the past The Sadies have been pigeonholed as country-rock—or worse, alt-country—a lazy label that fails to do them justice. While there’s no arguing that country music runs in their blood, they’ve always been closer in spirit to Younger Than Yesterday than Sweetheart Of The Rodeo—just check out Postcards or Violet and Jeffrey Lee. In other words, country is just one element of an increasingly unique and distinctive Sadies sound that draws on a range of influences from garage, folk-rock and psychedelia, to Link Wray and Ennio Morricone.
On Darker Circles all these elements come together perfectly to create a record that feels like a real album in the classic sense of the word. In an age where art, music and culture are usually instantly disposable, The Sadies have accomplished that most rare of feats—they’ve created something timeless.
- Mike Stax

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The Sadies
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The Sadies
at Pickathon 2011:

The Sadies
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