Richmond Fontaine has been delivering alt-country-ish records full of short-stories-as-songs for over two decades. With the band's latest, You Can't Go Back If There's Nothing To Go Back To, they are calling it quits, which is bittersweet since this is a beautiful, haunting record.
Nobody writes dark tales of the downtrodden and broken-hearted better than Willy Vlautin. His voice perfectly captures the shabbiness of his characters. I've listened to "A Night in the City" more times than I can count. A man leaves work and, for the first time, doesn't go home. He describes his indiscretion as "a one-night rebellion that ends up just bein' a drag/ like a weight around your feet that ain't heavy enough to send you down." For whatever reason that line breaks my heart even as the song's end hints at redemption.
Two decades is a long time to do anything, but I wish Richmond Fontaine would stick around for more. Still, as a closing chapter, You Can't Go Back is better than most bands could hope for.