The Place We Ran From

Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody calls this collaborative side project, which includes R.E.M.'s Peter Buck, a "twisted love letter to the States" — a very Bono-ish phrase, especially coming from an Irishman given to sweeping visions. But Lightbody works vague elegance, not rootsy specificity, and this mainly sounds like a folky spin on Snow Patrol's forlorn Coldplay-ish alt-rock, not an attempt to put on Delta wading boots. Zooey Deschanel sweetens up the distortion-darkened torch ballad "Get on the Road," the guy from the Editors sings some Nick Cave-ish gothy-tonk, and Buck's banjo and mandolin evoke early-Nineties R.E.M. at their prettiest, which is about as "Southern" as this polite, aimless record really needs to be.

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