Anders Osborne: Flower Box
With a trajectory that encompasses 13 albums—and nearly as many record labels—Anders Osborne’s prolific prowess is well established. It’s further evidenced by the fact that Flower Box is his second offering of 2016, following Spacedust & Ocean Views, released this past February. Yet, while that earlier album contained songs mostly of the laid-back variety, Flower Box ups the ante as far as energy, as illustrated by the immediate rush of album opener “Di erent Drum” and the spirited songs that follow—the loping “Fools Gold,” the steadily rocking title track and the sprawling “It Can’t Hurt You Anymore.” Osborne’s relentless wail sometimes brings Neil Young & Crazy Horse to mind—especially when in full flight—but also retains both a drive and deliberation all its own. For the most part, Flower Box offers little in the way of outside embellishment—either melodically or arrangement-wise—suggesting that even this far along, Osborne is simply content to spin his songs in a workmanlike manner. The sobriety of “The Gospel of St. John” and the reggae pulse that underscores “Born to Die Together,” prior to its fractured finish, dissipate the momentum to a certain degree, but Osborne’s head-down approach remains consistent even during the slower moments in the second half of the set. That’s especially true of “Old Country,” which starts slowly but fi nishes with a real wallop, bringing those Crazy Horse references back to the fore. Regardless, as both a producer and performer, Osborne has once again proven his prowess.