Whiskeytown finally made the slick production album everyone accused them of making with "Stranger's Almanac." The newe disc pops and swings at least as often is it shuffles and twangs, expanding the band's repertoire with jaunty piano tunes like "Mirror, Mirror" and radio friendly singles like "Don't Be Sad." "Paper Moon" even has a prominent piccolo melody and strings enough to choke Bing Crosby. What's a young alt.-country rocker to think?
Obviously, Ryan Adams could care less. He's following a different muse. Still, the music doesn't suffer.
"Pneumonia" hops from lush pop ("Don't Wanna Know Why") to homespun folk ("Jacksonville Skyline") to the moody ballads ("Reason to Lie") without sounding self-conscious or forced. It's an exploration of Adams as a singer and songwriter, showing both breadth and depth, and perhaps the reason why this will probably be the last Whiskeytown album. Adams has clearly started carving a new path for himself. That path will probably lead him back to Caitlin Cary and Mike Daly, the only remaining band members, but may not lead him back to Whiskeytown. Long live Whiskeytown!