a good read, a good album

Book of Bad Thoughts (Atlantic)
Uncle Green

By Kory Wilcoxson

Uncle Green's new album, Book of Bad Thoughts, is like a compelling novel, one that can't be put down and that when finished, begs to be reread.

It plays smooth on the ears and heavy on the brain from cover to cover, an equal blend of pop and rock bound together with a thick spine of intelligence and sarcasm.

Book is a narrative of the frustration that goes along with initiating and maintaining relationships. The band has an uncanny knack for delving to just the right emotional depth and bringing back hidden feelings.

Their sound is of consistently high quality, with each song maintaining its uniqueness through its stylish delivery. On the Southern rock-influenced "A Good Man," singer Matt Brown can't figure out why his wife doesn't think he's God's gift to women: "I'm a good man, but my wife don't believe it/She wouldn't know a good man if he bit her/Sometimes I feel like I could just hit her." It's this type of sarcastic wit that keeps the album flowing.

The music is up to the task of matching the mood of the vocals no small feat. "Blue Light" poses the biggest challenge to congruency, but the finished product is musically seamless. As Jeff Jensen sings about insecurity ("It doesn't matter that you can't stay/but do you think of me when you're away?"), the band sets forth a humble, unimposing field of acoustic guitar and tempered percussion for him and the listeners to stroll through.

Book of Bad Thoughts is a sublime work, one that affects the brain as much as the ear. It provokes thought while delighting the senses and should carry Uncle Green to the top of the bestsellers' list.