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John Doe: A Year In The Wilderness

B-

John Doe

Album: A Year In The Wilderness
Label: Yep Roc

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Since refashioning himself as an alt-country troubadour in the '90s, former X frontman John Doe has been hunting for ways to reclaim his punk edge, often by experimenting with noise. On A Year In The Wilderness, he tries just turning up the volume, which proves to be an effective strategy on yearning rockers like "Lean Out Yr Window." The majority of A Year In The Wilderness is taken up by inert midtempo ballads, on which the extra echo and booming backbeat add little, but Doe overcomes his dreary inclinations with "The Golden State," a lovely, anthemic duet with Kathleen Edwards that's a reminder of why Doe's one of the most important rock songwriters of the post-punk era.