This isn't an album that houses the joyous hop of "Moment of My Life," and it doesn't contain the towering triumph of "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" either, but Inner Life's I'm Caught Up (In a One Night Love Affair) is an immensely enjoyable full-length – one of the Prelude label's finer moments despite its low profile.
One of James Horner's most hushed works, House of Sand and Fog is an aptly brooding, implosive musical counterpart to Vadim Perleman's adaptation of Andre Dubus III's heartbreaking, and bestselling, novel. Horner captures the aspirations of the Behranis, a family of Irani immigrants, in the score's opening tracks. Pieces such as "An Older Life" and "Waves of the Caspian Sea" are quietly hopeful, string-driven compositions that feel like they're going to blossom into the kind of lush, sentimental pieces for which Horner is renowned – but they never do. Likewise, "'This Is No Longer Your House'" and "Kathy's Night" reflect the seeping frustration of Kathy Nicolo, an alcoholic young woman forced to give up her family's house, which the Behranis buy soon after. The musical themes of Nicolo and the Behranis come together, in a subdued manner on "Parallel Lives, Parallel Loves" and more urgently on "The Shooting, a Payment for Our Sins." But even the score's most dramatic moments are understated, providing more of a backdrop for the film's events than a commentary on them.
Nearly 20 years into his tenure as a prominent Pacific Northwest punk-turned-beloved folk-leaning songwriter, Jurado is still perfecting his mixture of barely restrained angst and carefully strategized tranquility. CAUGHT IN THE TREES continues to evoke the ghosts of his peers, Kurt Cobain and Elliott Smith, but is neither as hopeless as the former nor as vulnerable as the latter. The guitars get louder on standout tracks like “Caskets,” but the sweetness on display during “Gillian Was A Horse” and the engaging sadness laid bare on “Last Rights” (both given an even more sympathetic air by Jenny Conrad’s co-vocals) border on stunning.