I will not review the content of this album, other than to say I think it is a great recording in the roots rock tradition and one of the best albums of the new millennium.
However, having received the double vinyl from Amazon, I am utterly appalled at the quality of the pressing from Lost Highway. After my first copy was defective, Amazon quickly replaced it, but my second copy was just as bad. In both cases, both records of the set were incredibly warped. They were playable with a heavy tracking weight, but I suspect on some turntables the amount of warping would be enough to throw the needle out of the groove. Given this occurs on 2 sets of 2 discs, this has to be a manufacturing error and a quick scan on the internet shows that this issue is far from isolated to just myself. It is disgraceful that the quality control at Lost Highway records would allow this to occur and it reflects badly on the band that their music is presented in such a shoddy manner.
What is more frustrating is that visiting the band's website, they actually recommend the vinyl as being the best way to hear this album. I would concur - the warm guitars and naturalistic recording are well served by the analogue medium, but only if the finished product is up to spec.
Additionally, I was disappointed with the packaging. The double gatefold is pretty unimaginative, with two separate images on the inside (being a vinyl traditionalist I prefer a gatefold to present a single broad design covering both `pages'). Also, there was nothing in the way of booklet, insets or even picture sleeves (only plain paper sleeves). Considering the amount of artwork available on the CD release this smacks of cheap cost-cutting by the record label. And considering this is a `rock opera' not including lyrics (or should that be libretto) is unforgiveable.
All in all, the poor pressing and tight-fisted presentation mean that this product is very far from a collector's item (as many new vinyl qualify) and almost certainly not for listening enjoyment. Credit due to Amazon who handled the replacement and refunding well.