Singer-songwriter Shane Hines’ fourth release is a record of in-betweens: with nine songs and clocking in at 36 minutes, All the Quiet, All the Chaos is in between an EPand full length album, and its sound lies somewhere in between Americana and AAA. It’s an album that has one foot in Virginia and the other in Nashville. And it’s somewhere in between good and damn good.
If you’ve just broken up with somebody, you might not want to listen to this record for a while. Recorded in the aftermath of a relationship, pathos abounds on a majority of the tracks, along with all those gloomy touchstones of new singledom like moving into a new, lonely place and the occasional “suicide dream.” But there is a glimmer of hope to be found with the excellent “Nobody Tells You Anything,” which sounds like the uplifting inverse of Lucinda Williams’ “Sweet Old World.”
It seems that relocating to Nashville had an effect on Hines’ music, adding a little contemporary country feel and an extra dose of pedal steel. “Choices,” three minutes of fatherly advice like “Always stand up when something’s worth falling for/Don’t lie and don’t cheat to get your way in life/Know when to back down and know when to fight” would be a hit if, say, Brad Paisley ever released it as a single. Meanwhile, “Leave It All Behind” and “Cemetery Shoes” are three-minute bursts of infectious, Brit-tinged pop, though, as its title suggests, the latter is actually kind of depressing once you stop bopping along and start listening to the lyrics.
The lone clunker is “In Return,” a plodding ballad with clichéd lyrics about having arms to hold you when the world is so cold. Yeah. But aside from that, All the Quiet, All the Chaos is an excellent album from an artist who’s pretty clearly going places.
Top Tracks: “Nobody Tells You Anything,” “Choices,” “Cemetery Shoes”
Listen If You Like: Freedy Johnston, Whiskeytown’s Pneumonia, musical montages at the end of hour-long television dramas