Album review: 'Nowhere Nights,' by Kasey Anderson

David Rogers

There’s a certain sameness with indie-alternative rock: The downbeat cathartic lyrics searching for life’s meaning, the mid-range tempos, industrial-looking CD covers and such.

There’s nothing particularly wrong with the 11 songs that make up Kasey Anderson’s fourth CD, “Nowhere Nights,” but there’s also very little that makes them stand out either.

The CD starts off with the subdued “Bellingham Blues,” as Anderson informs listeners in a grumbly voice that he’s been stuck in one place for way too long, in this case Bellingham, Wash.: “I woke up here one morning and 15 years were gone.”

Anderson eventually left Bellingham (after eight years) and returned to his hometown, Portland, Ore., in 2007.

Breaking through the sameness is the third track, “Sooner/later.” It’s little more upbeat with a country feel to it and a sweet lead guitar lick that breaks up the verses very effectively. He’s got a good Steve Earle vibe going with this song, which is arguably the strongest track on the CD.

“Torn Apart,” is straight country rock with Anderson’s twangy drawl at its most pronounced. It’s a rollicking number that mentions whisky, tattoos and watching the rain all along the backdrop of a failed relationship. 

Taken on its own merits, Anderson’s “Nowhere Nights” is a strong collection of songs that will appeal to alt-country or alt-rock fans. The musicianship is muscular, and Anderson’s songwriting is captivating and real. But if he’s looking for “Nowhere Nights” to get him out of Portland and on to the national scene, he may be writing another album eight years from now about being stuck in one place for too long. 

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