13 Songs, 54 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

After a decade’s worth of albums, Cory Branan remains hard to classify—he’s too oddly poetic for country, too small-town and sentimental for indie rock. On his own terms, though, he’s an all-American visionary who tosses off emotional insights and weird flights of fancy with a bleary-eyed nonchalance. Mutt confirms his high stature among today’s singer/songwriters, as well as his stubborn refusal to rein in his genre-blurring sound. His lyrical landscapes are studded with stale cigarettes, bad haircuts, and soiled moonbeams, all used to highlight the damaged love affairs he seems obsessed with. “A heart is a horrid cocoon” he opines in “There, There, Little Heartbreaker,” typical of Mutt’s jaundiced yet tender sense of romance. Branan’s dusty, often half-spoken vocals maintain the album’s focus through a variety of settings, ranging from ‘60s folk (“The Corner”) to roadhouse country (“Karen’s Song”) and gypsy cabaret (“The Snowman”). On “Yesterday,” he makes a credible stab at John Mellencamp–ish heartland rock, even quoting “Jack and Diane” in the process.

EDITORS’ NOTES

After a decade’s worth of albums, Cory Branan remains hard to classify—he’s too oddly poetic for country, too small-town and sentimental for indie rock. On his own terms, though, he’s an all-American visionary who tosses off emotional insights and weird flights of fancy with a bleary-eyed nonchalance. Mutt confirms his high stature among today’s singer/songwriters, as well as his stubborn refusal to rein in his genre-blurring sound. His lyrical landscapes are studded with stale cigarettes, bad haircuts, and soiled moonbeams, all used to highlight the damaged love affairs he seems obsessed with. “A heart is a horrid cocoon” he opines in “There, There, Little Heartbreaker,” typical of Mutt’s jaundiced yet tender sense of romance. Branan’s dusty, often half-spoken vocals maintain the album’s focus through a variety of settings, ranging from ‘60s folk (“The Corner”) to roadhouse country (“Karen’s Song”) and gypsy cabaret (“The Snowman”). On “Yesterday,” he makes a credible stab at John Mellencamp–ish heartland rock, even quoting “Jack and Diane” in the process.

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