When you’ve been making music for as long as the crew of Sister Hazel has, you reach a point where you can, for all intents and purposes, do just about whatever the hell you want to. These guys can keep chugging along for as long as they care to, and as long as the quality holds up to an acceptable standard, many of their fans will continue to follow them on the road, and buy their albums, as well. Going on with their long, long career; Absolutely makes another welcome addition into their catalogue of material.
Ken Block & Co. have decided to continue in a direction that could pretty much be expected, and create an album here with Absolutely that should stand well with the rest of their moderately similar repertoire. As far as their ever-evolving (ever so barely) sound goes, the band instead seems to be taking a step in the other direction; reverting back to some of their roots and early inspirations for a return to form, if you will.
The same ole’ Sister Hazel you know and love is most definitely present on this effort, and with that necessity the affairs here begin to wear a little thin at the seams, at times. It’s not at all bad mind you, just a bit more predictable than I’d have liked. You get what you came for, that’s for sure; but not too much more is really offered than the usual fare. After their stellar previous effort, Lift, my expectations must have grown a bit more than they should have in anticipation for this one.
Inklings of jam band inspiration can loosely be felt on this record, which gives a much welcome breath of fresh air to the going-ons. First single “Mandolin Moon” keeps you bouncing, and entertains as well; and gives a pretty good representation of the fun-loving, roots rock feel that should be expected with this album. They continue on with their ever-so-popular arm chair philosophizing for the common man that they seem to have nailed down to a T, as well. And the mostly uplifting, semi-thought provoking goodness continues here, just as you’d expect.
All in all this is a solid effort, from a solid band, in a solid state of their career. It isn’t going to change, or conquer the world; but if you dig Sister Hazel, you’ll most definitely, absolutely enjoy Absolutely.
(Adrenaline Music Group)