I've been playing this album intensively for several days now. I've been trying hard to fall in love with it, but I haven't succeeded completely. It's a bit of a shame really, since Jason and Warner seem to love it a lot and also because it's their first album in 14 years. That's a pretty long time and I'm really glad that they have finally returned with a new album. I just don't find it quite as excellent as the band does.
I think that the biggest problem is the production. It has a somewhat muddy sound to it and it doesn't present the songs as well as it should. It's not that the new album doesn't have any good songs though! Songs like Beat On The Mountain, Mona Lee, Fear Not Gear Rot, Mother Of Greed, Golden Days, Better Than This are all fine songs and I'm sure they'll sound a lot better live. Jason & The Scorchers are still a fantastic live band and I'm sure they'll do the songs a lot more justice live.
Also part of the problem is that the new album doesn't really have that rebel or cowpunk feeling you felt on the older records. I don't know why, because they sure had it when I saw them live in 2008 and I still felt it when I saw Jason solo in 2009. Somehow I just don't feel it on this new record.
If you want to hear some top class Jason & The Scorchers material I suggest you try any of these albums: Fervor, Lost & Found, Still Standing, Thunder And Fire. These 4 albums still stand as immortal cow-country-punk-rock'n'roll gems. The new album is not near them in terms of song quality or production.
You will however still like the new album if you are a long time Jason & The Scorchers fan, it's just not one of their very best. But after 14 years of waiting, even less than perfect is still a lot.
A cool thing is that Jason Ringenberg and Warner E. Hodges took their time to sign my pre-order copy. Thanks a lot guys!