Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 8.5/10
It seems the Lone Star State has a way of burrowing into your soul regardless of whether you want it to or not, the wide open spaces, the long history of individual reasoning, of being the engine of America’s oil driven economy and of a war that never seemed likely to end. No matter what the thought of Texas is, it hides the creative side well, until it comes out of nowhere and gives the listener a truly groovy experience.
The roots of Nocona may reside in Texas but its heart feels a long way from there. It seems to nestle in the foothills of California that roll majestically down to the Pacific Ocean, it is the passion for a time in which groups really spoke in earnest of what they believed in and took that belief everywhere they went and were not hampered by the studios and thought of money making executives getting involved with a sound they had no idea on which to control. Such is that thought of individuality that it steamrollers across the interstate lines and harkens the arrival of the Long Gone Song, an album of sincerity and reflection fused with great lyrics and beautiful harmonious appreciation.
Underneath the harmony and reflection though there feels as if there is a question being asked which might never get answered. A question regarding uncertainty of how America is viewed, not just externally, but by its own people, a country that is pretty much divided straight down the middle, socially, politically and ethically, with half of the vast population seeing America as a dominant force, the other wondering where the spirit of endeavour for the sake of making something for the sheer joy of it went to. It is in this thought that the Americana influence, tangled with the roots that they employ so well but also with a sentimental nod to the British Folk scene really comes through for Nocona.
If Time can be seen a fiction invented so people can feel as though what they have achieved is to be celebrated or at least left with a satisfying taste in the bones, then Long Gone Song digs deep into the marrow and leads the rebellion against the static and the controlled. It rolls out the welcome mat to the tasty and sublime. In songs such as Toothless Junkie, Beelzebub is Still The King, Ahh Lovely and the cracking Outside The Lines, Time feels as though it has been rumbled for the illusion it pretends to be; a novel and fine response to the demands of the modern age where everything’s price is set except for true worth.
An album of the Americana genre which captures moments and sets them wonderfully free to explore and to educate beyond its borders; an album that understands its own true self worth and the sense of truth it employs.
Ian D. Hall