Metascore
72

Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 13 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. It's a bracing and welcome return to form for an important artist.
  2. Okemah is heady stuff, to be sure, but it's also one of the year's best straight-up rock albums.
  3. While Okemah is clearly driven by Farrar's vision, it suitably develops Son Volt's sound, bringing it clearly into the mid-2000s while giving a nod toward the influences of bygone days that have always been a factor in Son Volt's alt-country tendencies.
  4. Even when his overintellectualized lyrics smear into a palette of industrial gray, the guitars provide a strong human heartbeat.
  5. Farrar's perfectly ramshackle voice still delivers his oblique lyrics, but now it's backed by a tighter, revamped lineup. [15 Jul 2005, p.71]
  6. Despite taking few chances thematically or musically, the reincarnated Son Volt delivers a tight, nothing-wasted set.
  7. Farrar has the passion to carry the songs beyond any hackneyed themes. [6 Aug 2005, p.56]
  8. Okemah and the Melody of Riot is an intelligent, aggressive album that acts as a sorely needed kick in the ass to the entire Americana/alt.country genre.
  9. When not so buried in dank sonics, Farrar's familiar songwriting drawl feels more crisp and lively; being able to hear the record's engaging pop hooks is a revelation. On the other hand, this newfound production clarity reveals that Farrar might be running out of ideas.
  10. As the album progresses... Farrar's lyrics become increasingly stilted and veiled, reverting to the forced wordplay and disconnected evocations of his most obscure songs. In the past, this tendency toward purple opacity could be excused, but on Okemah it hinders Farrar considerably.
  11. If the sound that the original Son Volt line-up cultivated began to feel oppressing for Farrar, it’s clear on Okemah And The Melody of Riot that a return in part to that sound has been good for his musical soul.
  12. After a few songs, the formula wears thin -- it's just too plain-spoken and familiar. [10 Jul 2005]
  13. 60
    By focusing on the temporal, he reduces himself to simple protest music rather than timeless folk. [Aug 2005, p.104]
  14. 60
    For every inspired turn, there's an insubstantial one, while some merely appear sluggish. [Aug 2005, p.96]
  15. Okemah replaces Farrar's indulgence with a gently rocking back-porch feel. [28 Jul 2005, p.82]
  16. The band's underlying, stubborn seriousness, and nearly Amish unwillingness to change, creates its appeal. [11 Jul 2005]
  17. 40
    He's never tried so actively to fuse prescriptive politics into [the] mix, and the move feels suspect. [Aug 2005, p.115]

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