3 out of 5
Label: The Americans Are Coming
Produced by: Mark Needham
The album title is fairly fitting, though it would seem that LFO’s path on the album took them by the more scenic stops first, and then the path thereafter is somewhat lacking.
There does seem to be some forethought to this construction, even if I don’t necessarily think it bore the most ideal sequencing: Take the Scenic Route is split into sections by ‘I Believe In The Scenery Waltz’ instrumentals – thirty second intros / interludes that are appropriately waltz-y – heaving the heavier, riff-rocked tracks into the first half, and the more plaintive, open-ended stuff into the latter. Things lean more towards their 70s slow-burn influences on this album, which gives it limited range versus their later EP and Stinky Records release, but the sense of mystery and ear for catchy harmonics and rhythms is already intact: openers High Noon and Captain’s Son may not reach the ear-rattling highs on those other discs, but they’re damned solid, memorable songs. The soft and sultry Bess Bleed Honey is a good warm-up for the delicate The Snow Song, before the album takes a break and leads into its second, and somewhat more intimate half. The intimacy, though, sacrifices the immediacy of their punchier work, and we don’t emerge from that back half with much that sticks beyond cozy memories of Jared Southard’s croon.
But even without knowing what was to come, there was undoubtedly a lot of promise here, and had the disc been chopped into a mini-album of its first half, that promise would’ve easily translated to hype for whatever (at that point) could be next.