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by The Scarlet Tree

A strong, solidly melodic rock album with hints of country, gorgeously written, tastefully arranged, and impeccably played. In terms of its sound, it is far less eclectic than 'Leaving Paper City,' muscular, lean, and forward-driving. Effectively efficient. Both lyrically and musically, The Scarlet Tree works within traditional forms rather than pushing at boundaries. Knox is more craftsman than innovator with this album, (in this way he resembles John Mellencamp). The Scarlet Tree achieve their most noteworthy moments in their uptempo, instrumentally thick songs, such as the first three tracks, "I Left It All Back There in Susanville," “Run,” and "Something’s Gotta Give."  The slow stuff might be a bit ponderous, but the first six or seven songs manage a rare trick: They're incandescent enough to jump out at you on the radio, yet are steeped in a type of introspective inquiry that was once integral to rock & roll, and has nearly vanished.  Susanville is equal parts durable and likeable.