Stereophile Recording of the Month, February 2009! Four stars for Performance and Four stars for Sonics!
Cardinology is the latest album from alt-country rocker Ryan Adams and his band The Cardinals. Written after a period of drug rehabilitation, it is quintessentially the record he spent years promising but did not quite deliver. Now that it's here, it will easily go down as one of the best that Adams has ever made in his decade-spanning career.
There can be no doubt, Cardinology is a classic rock record, start to finish. Seminal influences U2 and the Grateful Dead are honored with little reserve. Great playing and singing abound, from the Tex-Mex gospel swagger of "Born Into a Light" to the plaintive melodies of the piano ballad "Stop". So compelling is the work of Adams's backing band throughout, it is almost no wonder that the album should bear their name. But Cardinology isn't merely a showcase for a talented band. It's a singer/songwriter album that's about songs, intimate and inviting.
More than ever, Ryan Adams has crafted a record of solid, singular vision. Tight, clean lines are the norm here, as Adams proves he has found the voice he was meant to have. Gone is the rage of his early work, replaced by carefully measured melodic sensibility. Cardinology is the work of a man who has been through a lot and knows he's far from being done.
"Adams' idea now seems to be richness rather than surprise: the gospel according to Ryan, but at lower levels of volume and urgency... his obvious influences, such as Parsons and U2, have never been used as well." - Robert Baird, Stereophile Magazine, February 2009, pg. 125
"...while many of the songwriting turns are familiar to longtime Adams fans - "Go Easy" could easily have appeared on any record since Gold - he's still capable of writing a transcendent tune like this album's strongest, "Crossed Out Name," whose strummed acoustic guitars power a U2-flavored rumination. "Let Us Down Easy," which adds a Wurlitzer to the mix, is another controlled but satisfying mix of electric guitars. And "Magick," Adams' fun tribute to chord-bashing riff rock like "Highway To Hell" or "All Right Now" is a ball." - Robert Baird, Stereophile Magazine, February 2009, pg. 125
• Leah Hayes album cover artwork
• MP3 Download for album
• Gatefold Jacket
1. Born Into A Light
2. Go Easy
3. Fix It
6. Let Us Down Easy
7. Crossed Out Name
8. Natural Ghosts
9. Sink Ships
11. Like Yesterday