MusicNerd Essential Albums: The Jayhawks – Sound Of Lies

After having released three critically acclaimed records, Sound Of Lies caught Americana band The Jayhawks at a time of transition. Gone from the band was Mark Olson who had been responsible for sharing vocal and writing duties with Gary Louris. While it was a reportedly amicable split, this record seems to be a dividing point among many of the band’s fans. Some consider the output that Louris and The Jayhawks delivered after Olson’s departure to somehow be sub-par to the material that Olson was included upon.

Sound Of Lies was actually the first Jayhawks record that I had heard from start to finish and fell in love with it immediately. Opening with “The Man Who Loved Life”, the subject matter on Sound Of Lies goes from sad to depressing all within the first five songs on the record. But it truly is a beautiful thing.

While there is a somewhat optimistic lilt to the opening track, the urge for loved ones to re-consider not taking their own lives is pleaded on track two, “Think About It”. The following track “Trouble” doesn’t fare much higher on the happy scale, either. It’s not all doom and gloom though. The band finds an excellent groove on “Big Star” while the same applies Tim O’Reagan’s “Bottomless Cup” before the record wraps up with the somber title track.

Sound Of Lies may owe more to The Jayhawks pop and rock heroes than to country-influences but either way, the listener is the real winner here.