Tim Showalter has titled this 2014 album HEAL—all in capital letters—and it shows a hard rock approach that suggests something closer to Arthur Janov’s primal scream therapy than any type of meditative or introspective healing. Working with producer John Congleton, engineer/synth player Ben Vehorn, and drummer Steve Clements, Showalter unleashes some serious ’70s/‘80s/‘90s–styled hard rock, far from the folk-rooted Americana of his previous work. “Goshen ’97” brings us back to his teenage years in Goshen, Ind., where he first imagined music as an escape. J Mascis adds a guitar solo that mirrors Showalter’s battling emotions from the time. The incredible seven-and-a-half-minute “JM” is a tribute not to Mascis but to the late Jason Molina, whose music (as Songs: Ohia, Magnolia Electric Co., and under his own name) greatly influenced Showalter’s intensely personal style. “Woke Up to the Light” finally slows things for a Mark Kozelek–like confessional. But little here settles for anything sedate. This is a big rock album with big beats and anthem-like songs that never teeter over into clinical bombast but remain infused with blood on the tracks.

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