Jim Lindberg – Songs From The Elkhorn Trail

  • Dolly Robinson posted
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Jim Lindberg

Songs From The Elkhorn Trail - Epitaph Records

When I was asked to review this album, I was pretty chuffed, however, my heart fell when I saw the album cover, which is a line drawing of Jim Lindberg sat at a campfire with an acoustic guitar. Now I’m a fairly big Pennywise fan, and given their previous output is peppered with melodic ferocity, you could say that for me, they tick all the boxes – loud, fast and tuneful. I should also add that for my money, a guitar should always be electric, and preferably running into a very loud overdriven valve amp, supported by pounding drums that’d wake the dead. With that knowledge, this cover filled me trepidation verging on nausea, however, those feelings fell away before the start of the first chorus on The Palm Of Your Hand…yes, it’s acoustic, but it’s still upbeat, and dare I say pop-punk… a bloody great start to this solo album.

The Palm Of Your Hand is the first of many highlights on this record, and If there was any justice in the world it would be a hit single, but the world is just bonkers just now, so will probably not hit the heights it deserves. The joyful upbeat sound continues with second song, I Feel Like The Sun, but with some unexpected and lovely trumpet fills and solo. I should hate this, but instead I find myself thinking it’s bloody wonderful. The next highlight comes with Hello Again, which is a bit of a sad song in terms of lyrics, but is delivered with a melancholic joy (is such a thing even possible??), such that the casual listener is left feeling happy – utter genius. It does have a little flavour of Green Day’s When I Come Around in the pre-chorus, but it’s fleeting, and doesn’t detract from another cracking song.

There’s a country vibe flowing through this album, and this comes to the fore on Don’t Lay Me Down, with an even more stripped back feel, it’s all acoustic guitars, violins and cellos. On Not One Of Them, Jim rails against fair weather friends, who seem more prevalent than ever in this social media age, but again it’s done with such care and grace, that it doesn’t come across as trite, just heartfelt and luscious. There’s something very British about Good Enough, with the chorus hook “Never thought this life would turn out great, but at least I hoped for good enough”, very understated, and another gem.

I could have done without The Basement, it rolls along nicely on top of a (drum machine?) beat, and is jolly enough, but sounds a bit like a filler song when compared to the quality of the other tracks on offer. The album concludes with another brace of strong, upbeat pop-punk songs, On Fire and Long Way To Go. The former benefits from a nice bit of harmonica throughout, and the latter is similar in feel to Don’t Lay Me Down earlier in the set, with a reprise for the violinist, adding some nice touches completely in keeping with the song.

Songs From The Elkhorn Trail is released tomorrow, Friday 19th July, via Epitaph Records