The cover to New Seasons — a rural landscape dipped in shades of electric raspberry — looks a lot like the jacket for Charley D. and Milo's 1970 debut LP, a lost treasure in lysergic country pop. That's not surprising. The Sadies, as their sixth studio album clearly demonstrates, retain an encyclopedic knowledge of cosmic American music, one that runs far deeper than merely nicking tricks from the Byrds.
The Sadies, you see, aren't bad actors like Beachwood Sparks. The Canadian outfit doesn't dress up like cowboys and simply add a little reverb-soaked pedal steel to pedestrian indie pop. Sure, New Seasons is drenched in moody atmospherics and whispering harmonies reminiscent of '90s dream pop; "The Trial" and "Anna Leigh," in particular, ripple and float like a stoned hike through the Metroparks. The disc also gallops like a pack of movie outlaws wandering the high plains to Ennio Morricone (as well as some Dick Dale).
But New Seasons never feels like cheap cinema. That's because the Sadies are skilled musicians who understand the key to classic country rock. Guitarists Dallas and Travis Good don't strum — they pick . . . all the time. While that sounds like a minor difference maker, it ain't. Country picking is the earth from which everything else sprouts. And in the Sadies' case, what comes up is a kaleidoscopic field of wild flowers and poppies.