When You Tell Me How It Is
Richard Buckner hasn’t recorded an “alt-country” album in years. Yet he’s forever linked to the genre, despite making albums that are increasingly nonlinear and quite experimental. His lyric-writing technique this time around is based on pulling selected passages from a greater text, but don’t expect the full story to get you much closer to a beginning, middle, or end. Buckner filters information through a memory that’s pure Super 8 film, augmented or diminished by whatever high or low (natural or otherwise) he’s experiencing. He’s said to have written this material with more junk-shop finds; the bizarre ambience that holds together “When You Tell Me How It Is” and that secures the hook for “Beautiful Question” is just the serendipitous luck that Buckner believes can happen if you put yourself out there like a lightning rod. There’s a lawless menace in the sound that feels more permanent the longer Buckner fills the dead man’s shoes. The romantic of his early records has become an unfazed detective who expects there to be a body on the kitchen floor.