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Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets
     

Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets

5.0 2
by Gary Jules
 

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If Gary Jules' debut album was a superb collection of songs (a few of them dating back to his late teenage years), Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets is a stunning, focused follow-up. Reflective and melancholy, dusk-colored and dreamlike, it finds supreme repose through songs of somber experience. Composed in the concentrated two-year span after being

Overview

If Gary Jules' debut album was a superb collection of songs (a few of them dating back to his late teenage years), Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets is a stunning, focused follow-up. Reflective and melancholy, dusk-colored and dreamlike, it finds supreme repose through songs of somber experience. Composed in the concentrated two-year span after being unceremoniously dropped from A&M and recorded essentially on his own, the album is a wellspring of songcraft that charts a course through tangled emotions. Jules' voice betrays many things -- hurt, disappointment, and uncertainty, but also, importantly, recognition -- and the songs find a range of moods, from the joyous, late-night-with-loose-change-in-my-pockets ode "DTLA" to the breathtaking resignation of "No Poetry" and "Something Else." On the surface, little seems to have changed about the music. It is still a fragile but lush wish: the cymbals whisper, and acoustic guitars pick out the delicate melodies while waiting for the occasional, flirtatious reply of soft electric runs. But in every way, Jules has grown as an artist. Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets plays out like a song cycle. It documents Jules' convoluted relationship with Los Angeles, an adopted home that retains an unrelenting hold over the songwriter, and the music is imbued with the city's spirit. You could even say that Hollywood acts as a character of sorts on the album, both a protagonist and antagonist, sometimes standing at the center of songs, sometimes fading into soft focus behind Jules' stories, but always, in some way, casting a shadow. The album moves through vaguely cynical expressions of dejection, toward acceptance, before finally inhabiting a humble, restive place, a personal journey that culminates in "Umbilical Town," on which Jules lingers in the past for a few brief moments before letting go of it all. And in the stark ghostliness of Tears for Fears' "Mad World," hauntingly rearranged as a piano ballad, he comes up with a performance that more than matches the work of Cat Stevens in terms of solemn, profound beauty, isolation, and depth of searching. Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets takes on a shimmering glow. Gracious and redemptive, it is a rapt, quiescent masterwork.

Editorial Reviews

Entertainment Weekly - Brian Hiatt
A delicately crafted folk-rock set built around [Jules's] nimble, fingerpicked guitar and restrained, Michael Stipe-like vocals.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/22/2009
Label:
Sanctuary Uk
UPC:
5050159025220
catalogNumber:
5902522

Related Subjects

Tracks

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Gary Jules   Primary Artist,Acoustic Guitar,Harmonica,Mandolin,Vocals,Slide Guitar,Shaker
Michael Andrews   Synthesizer,Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Percussion,Piano,Drums,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Background Vocals,Melodica,Shaker,Omnichord
Brett Simons   Group Member
Heather Brown   Group Member
Robert Walter   Piano
George Sluppick   Drums
Ed Maxwell   Group Member
Pete McNeal   Drums
Sarah Brysk   Vocals
Adam Grace   Group Member

Technical Credits

Michael Andrews   Programming,Producer,Engineer
Bradley Cook   Engineer
Henry Diltz   Cover Photo
Roland Orzabal   Composer
Michael Patterson   Engineer
Todd Burke   Engineer
Gary Jules   Composer,Producer,Engineer
Bryan Cook   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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Trading Snakeoil for Wolftickets 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Like another reviewer wrote, I also bought this CD for 'Mad World' which was from the Donnie Darko soundtrack (great movie with a great soundtrack, but the CD was not). I was greatly surprised by this gem of an artist. It has been several years since I've heard anything as beautiful as this CD. Gary's lyrics conjure up wonderful (and sometimes haunting) images. He's one of those artists that are a little hard to put in a category - a little country, a little Americana. I especially enjoyed 'Barstools' and 'The Princess of Hollywood Way'. I think he would be great to see live. Check it out; you'll be glad you did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This cd is really incredible. I bought it for Mad World but the rest of the songs are really great. That is hard to imagine. I seldom buy a whole cd any more becuse I normally get one good song and 11 bad ones, but this one is worth it!!!