Opening tracks are hugely important on any album. They not only set the tone for the rest of the album to follow, they offer the first impression of the album and first impressions are key. Seminal music film High Fidelity even offers a discussion on the best “Side one, track one” songs ever. You just have to look at Jack White for an example of how to do it right. The opening tracks with his various projects have included Seven Nation Army, Blue Orchid, Steady as She Goes and Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.
For an example of how not to do it, well, this is where The Lost Brothers come in with their album ‘The Passing of the Night’. Here, Not Now Warden sounds bland and apologetic and lacking in any real impact. As a song hidden somewhere in the middle of an album, it could pass, but it’s unforgivable to have it as an opening track.
To say that it ruins and otherwise good album wouldn’t accurate though. Each new song passes you by leaving little more than a scent of old time country music lingering in the mind. And when I say ‘old time country’, these sound like the type of songs that were surely left biting the dust of I Am a Man of Constant Sorrow in the depression-hit southern US states in the 1930s of ‘Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?’.
Decent guitar work (especially on Send Me Off to Sleep) and well worked harmonies notwithstanding, this is not an album that will leave a lasting impression. There are no hooks to grab the listener at any point and there never seems to be enough conviction in the vocals to convey any sort of emotion. The ‘trip through the night’ theme is only something that comes through when looking at track titles.
Songs like Blue Moon in September and Farside are downbeat without being reflective while Bird in a Cage and Now That the Night Has Come are upbeat without being dancey or raising the blood flow. It’s not an album to avoid at all costs – it is in no way aesthetically offensive – but it’s not an album you are likely to want to pick up and put on.