All That Reckoning
For over 30 years now the Cowboy Junkies has been allowing its music to waft past, set to permanent slow-burn, they’re like an alt-folk Crazy Horse. Theirs is a deceptively angry music too, that soft coo of Margo Timmins’ voice could, so often, be telling you the most sweet and beautiful things that it sneaks up with you (as here on Missing Children and The Things We Do To Each Other, to pick just two examples) when she (and the band) is actually mad.
Brother Michael Timmins does a similar trick with his guitar-snarls. You should be wary of what’s on the end of the leash, especially when he actually lets it go, but still your natural instinct is to want to pet it.
These Junkies never went away. They have kept making fantastic music and All That Reckoning is surely among their very best.
Close your eyes as you listen (Shining Teeth) and you might be swept all the way back to Caution Horses.
I think perhaps the thing I love most about this band is how utterly aware they are of what they’re doing and the way they’re doing it.
“I’m gonna start this song in a dark low whisper/Out of respect for the story that it tells”, Margo sings in the opening scene-setting lines of Nose Before Ear. It’s like Springsteen and a detective novel merging. She might as well be singing about brother Peter Timmins’ approach to building a drum-groove. And we can certainly feel that this has always been Michael’s method, it could almost be a lyric purloined from a note-to-self he etched on his guitar case back in the early 1980s.
All That Reckoning bristles with political rage too. It simmers. (They always fucking simmer).
As devastating as a late-night call, as perfect as a swan on the water.
That this band still has things to say, and is doing so in largely the same way, remains as quietly remarkable as any of the very best moments from across their near-faultless catalogue.
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