Good Old War
Only Way To Be Alone


4.5
superb

Review

by David Driver USER (78 Reviews)
October 7th, 2009 | 15 replies | 11,384 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Fun, catchy and sensible folk rock/pop that oozes with personality, variety and depth.

2 of 2 thought this review was well written

The boys of Good Old War, Keith Goodwin, Tim Arnold and Dan Schwartzman, are probably some of the most talented musicians you’ll ever get the chance to hear. Not only do they have the proficiency to write some great songs, but they can also bust out some flawless three-part harmonies that would make any a cappella group blush. So when these guys arrive on the music scene with their debut album, Only Way To Be Alone, one can probably expect it to be good, but I myself never thought that it would be this good.

At the heart of Good Old War lies some sweet, sentimental and easygoing folk rock/pop, with lyrics mostly about insecurities and troubled relationships. Songs like “Coney Island”, “Tell Me”, “Looking For Shelter” and “No Time” are brisk, mid-tempo folk songs with busy acoustic picking and melodic lead riffs. Along with their catchy, sing-along choruses and engaging song progressions, it won’t be hard for these charming tunes to captivate you on the very first listen.

What’s most refreshing about this release, however, is how the band shows tons of variety from song to song. “Just Another Day” and “Window” are faster songs with a bluegrass-esque gallop, “We’ve Come A Long Way” & “Maybe Mine” have a deep 6/8 groove, while “Weak Man” wields a slow tempo, “I’m Not For You” features weaving time signatures, “That’s What’s Wrong” sports a country tinge, and the finale, “Stay By My Side”, is largely an a cappella effort. It’s impressive that there is a substantial amount of diversity to be found on this album, yet every song sounds like a thoughtful and extraordinary effort. Most every song has its own crisp, distinct character, and it’s unlikely that someone will find a bad song on this album because of it.

And not only does this album feature some great music, but it also features some stunning vocals as well: what truly sets Good Old War apart from other similar groups is their ability to pull off flawless and tasteful vocal harmonies. Every song on the album has a substantial amount of vocal harmony, and it really adds to the melodic tone, sentimentality, and overall catchiness of the album. It’s probably safe to say that those who enjoy vocal performances will be neck deep in awe while listening to these boys harmonize their hearts out.

All in all, Only Way To Be Alone is just so darn fun and easy to listen to that it’s really hard to see how anyone could truly dislike it. The boys in Good Old War have crafted a charmingly simple and substantial folk/pop album with enough variety and sentimentality to be considered one of the most impressive and accessible debuts I have ever heard. Only Way To Be Alone proves to be a solid album that simply everyone can enjoy, which really is a rare phenomenon and a very commendable achievement.



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user ratings (192)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Prophet178
October 7th 2009



6397 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Keith Goodwin, Tim Arnold and Dan Schwartzman


Ha! Clever, I never noticed that.

Band is too folky for my taste.

Ricven
October 7th 2009



207 Comments


Band rules, surprised this didn't have a review. I love the song with Anthony Green.

Masochist
October 7th 2009



7961 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Considering how much I loved Days Away, it was ridiculous how long it took me to grab this album. It was $5.00 on Amazon.com one week, though, and I'm glad--it's so damn good!

Good review, too. Thanks for doing it!

Beauville88
October 7th 2009



216 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was shocked that this didn't have a review. SHOCKED!

I'm just trying to bring this site to justice is all.

elephantREVOLUTION
October 7th 2009



2731 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah, it's good someone finally reviewed this. I love Goodwin's voice.

xNintendoCorex
March 29th 2010



1272 Comments


this was surprisingly goodm qutie an enjoyable listen

zeppelinUSA
May 2nd 2010



299 Comments


gonna check this out soon, is it anything like Belle and Sebastian?

El_Goodo
June 4th 2010



1008 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Saw the review for their new album on the main page, found this one on megaupload and I've already listened to it in it's entirety 4 or 5 times at work. Coney Island and No Time are probably my favourites, Stay By My Side is really cool too.

hoipolloi
June 15th 2010



152 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is pretty good stuff

crazyblinddude
July 9th 2010



3389 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great review. didnt catch the name part. very clever.

Oceanus
March 7th 2011



877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

And if I'm not for you then

acorncheese
March 7th 2011



7119 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Starting to think S/T>This

TomAkaVeto
March 9th 2011



1596 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I found out about this band because Anthony Green covered their song "Coney Island". I really dig this album a lot and have never gotten bored with it even though I've been listening to it for quite a while. Haven't listened to their new album very much, though.

Oceanus
March 1st 2012



877 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

New album is streaming on their website.

fuckthatnoise
June 24th 2012



1479 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

really glad i decided to give these guys another chance. initially wrote them off after hearing their new album but this is actually really good.



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