The good news is that Mat Kearney returns to his more distinctive talk-sing style that he employed on his outstanding debut album and then abandoned on his weaker second album. The bad news is he does so less effectively and less consistently. A solid start to the album brings about hope, but the album is front-loaded and provides no memorable tracks in the second half. However, the first half of the album does have some very solid tracks, led by the melodic, singable “Chasing the Light”, which utilizes Kearney’s storytelling strength and a very pleasant chorus. “Sooner or Later” expands on some sonic ideas as well, using more pronounced percussion and synth that’s almost borrow from hip-hop club music. “Ships in the Night” is a good bet for a single, providing a perfect choice for a pleasant VH1 track in the mold of The Fray or OneRepublic, but probably a little better.
Other than lead single “Hey Mama”, there’s just not much else here, though. The second half is merely forgettable, though never bad. Sonically, “She Got the Honey”, provides some interesting ideas, but the song just never quite grabs you. Final track “Rochester” loses its story concept potential with shruggable execution.
I grabbed the album for $5 on Amazon, and it was probably worth that, since there’s about 5 good songs on the album. It’s not bad, it’s not great, it’s nothing special, and it gets the average review it deserves. However, I wouldn’t skip it entirely, and you’ll be well off to own the better tracks on the album.