Laurel Canyon loveliness on a back‑to‑basics sixth.
Perhaps, as it always sounded, time stands still in Laurel Canyon, but the place certainly failed to go out of fashion. A new generation of plush boho alt. country stars like Father John Misty and Jonathan Wilson are keeping its dusky spark alive and Dawes are among the scene’s more respectful proponents of the CSN&Y shimmer.
This sixth album reneges on the funksome electronic promise of 2016’s We’re All Gonna Die and, with Wilson at the sliders, returns to their folkrock roots, with the odd stray leftover. Opener Living In The Future laces some lumbering blues rock with a chorus of silvery synths while Feed The
Fire and the luscious Mistakes Should Have Been Made echo the 80s FM haze of The War On Drugs or the more top-down bits of The Killers.
Otherwise Passwords is full of lustrous folk, as on My Greatest Invention and I Can’t Love, with the odd innocuous AOR moment (Telescope), though there’s hidden bite.
Taylor Goldsmith’s early edge may have given way to a gentler acoustic touch and grannyfriendly vocals – at times you’d think Cliff Richard has gone country – but his words can veer from the lovestruck or hopeless to the cutting and caustic. ‘I will do your interview… give you something to read into in a million different ways,’ Goldsmith snipes at the press on the sumptuous Crack The Case, ‘a game we thought we had all outgrown but still everybody plays’.
Clearly been getting media training from Mr Tillman, then…