Crash Test Dummies: Ellen Reid (vocals); Brad Roberts.
Personnel: Brad Roberts (vocals, acoustic guitar); Suzzy Roche (vocals, background vocals); Scott Harding (acoustic guitar, electric guitar, vibraphone, cymbals, percussion, background vocals); Drew Glackin (acoustic guitar, lap steel guitar, resonator guitar, electric bass); Alan Sparhawk (electric guitar); David Mansfield (banjo, violin); Park Stickney (harp); Jane Scarpantoni (cello); Chris Brown (accordion, piano, Wurlitzer organ); Andrew Hall (acoustic bass); Mimi Parker (drums); Ellen Reid (background vocals).
Audio Mixer: Scott Harding.
Recording information: Sacred Heart Studios, Duluth, MN (02/2003).
Photographer: Michele Varian.
Arranger: Scott Harding.
After a streak of albums that could be considered less than stellar, the Crash Test Dummies and Brad Roberts return to their roots and find themselves in excellent form. With the Dummies stripped of all the electronic experimentation and quirky, Shel Silverstein-esque lyrics that hindered their past few releases, the haunting, sparse acoustic instrumentation makes a welcome return to the forefront of the songwriting process. This only reinforces and complements Roberts' existentially bereft baritone folk tales to their fullest potential. The sonnets used for lyrics are some of the Crash Test Dummies' darkest and most brooding in their entire catalog, talking tales of murder, sinister deeds, punishment, sin, and death. Songs of the Unforgiven is the record die-hard fans have been patiently waiting for, and it's outstanding. From start to finish, it's a welcome return to the fold, one of the best releases in their catalog yet, and a major turning of the page forward in an otherwise tumultuous career. ~ Rob Theakston