Review: Back & Forth

In Music

By Patrick Cowles

Daily Titan Assistant News Editor

Pete Yorn did something remarkable today. Despite my tenacity to drive 80 mph with the windows down and volume up, he got me to drive the speed limit all the way home on a vacant Southern California freeway with the windows up.

Pete Yorn released Back & Fourth in June. However, for his fourth Columbia Records release, Yorn hooked up with Rick Rubin and Mike Mogis to produce a mature and mellow 10 song ride.

Although the somber sounds of Yorn don’t tickle my musical taste buds, this album flows like a calm stream after the snow melts, and that any pair of ears can groove to it.

Yet, the majesty of this album hails from its ensemble. Yorn and Rubin brought in much more than the standard rock set-up.

Back & Fourth drops a number of instruments into the mix not commonly found in rock: vibraphones, mandolins, a variety of brass instruments, violins and cellos, along with a Wurlitzer electric piano.

These added instruments create a vibrant dynamic making the music more fulfilling to the ears while giving each song a distinct personality.

With other folk-pop artists writing hollow 20-minute masterpieces, like Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” Yorn sings about darker times in his life. “I just think I had been living my teenage rocked-out fantasy for a long time and I had some growing up to do,” Yorn has said.

“Paradise Cove” rolls in slow like a low tide, yet the tone of Yorn’s voice and the lyrics it sings drag on like a forlorn beach bum.

He also tightened his rhyming with his rhythm. Social Development Dance’s melodic guitar riff accentuates perfectly with the well written lyrics, describing a long-time relationship separated by circumstances, distance, and time.

Yorn’s Back & Fourth may not catch on like his pop contemporaries, but this album is like a shot of Novocain. If you ever find yourself “Googling in quotes with no results,” or stuck helplessly in traffic, keep this album close by; it will help you keep your sanity.

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