There's one big knock to be made against ''Breach'': It lacks the spark of the new, the original. Both lyrically and musically, Dylan works within traditional forms rather than pushing at boundaries... Dylan is more craftsman than innovator (in this way he resembles John Mellencamp), and some listeners will be put off by the feeling they've heard it all before.
The slow stuff might be a bit ponderous, but the first six or seven songs manage a rare trick: They're incandescent enough to jump out at you on the radio, yet are steeped in a type of introspective inquiry that was once integral to rock & roll, and has nearly vanished.
Breach is equal parts likeable, lyrical jamming, and inflated mediocrity. The Wallflowers achieve their most noteworthy moments in their uptempo, instrumentally thick songs, such as the first track, "Letters from the Wasteland," and "Sleepwalker." When the band leans hard on lyrics as the primary stability of a song, the album falters a bit ("Witness," for example, is slow and tedious).
Jakob Dylan and his team have fashioned an album that's longer on big guitars, crunchy grooves and cool changes than overt confessionals. All told, Breach is a subtle, seamless effort with nary a lull or misstep -- in contrast to its multiplatinum predecessor, the second half of which suffered from a series of pedestrian songs.
Positive: 13 out of 13
Mixed: 0 out of 13
Negative: 0 out of 13
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