Tin Armor - Life of Abundance (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Tin Armor

Life of Abundance (2011)


Blame it on Elvis Costello; ever since Almost Blue, every indie band sooner or later takes a stab at country music. Fortunately, Tin Armor's alt-country direction on Life of Abundance suits the band quite well. Striking a balance between Wilco's songwriting and Jackson Browne's melodies, Life of Abundance is an easy, fun listen.

The title track opens the album on a somber note, however. Over plaintive piano, vocalists John and Matt Umland let out a soulful song about getting by. It's a beautiful tune bordering on gospel, and kind of a daring way to kick off a rock record. The rest of Abundance is more solidly in the country-rock vein, as track two, "Plain Limbs," proves. Guitars kick in full force and the drums up the ante, recalling the more energetic tunes from Being There like "Monday."

As a whole, Life of Abundance is a solid record, but it is a little on the inconsistent side. "Inside Days" and "Just So I Know It," for example, meander a little bit into the formulaic side. Still, I get the feeling these tunes sound electric live. Especially tracks like "Shake Up" and "Silhouettes" sound like they could be jammed out and explored in full in a concert setting.

Alt-country often falls into the "dad rock" category, and I'm sure my trotting out a Jackson Browne comparison isn't doing the genre any favors here, but Tin Armor has shown remarkable growth by reaching further back into the music canon. Life of Abundance has the same calming vibes of many a '70s singer/songwriter record, but it knows enough to ratchet up the energy on occasion too.