[New West]

 Recorded in a few days at producer Buddy Miller’s Nashville home, Electric sounds more live than Thompson’s Dream Attic(2010), an actual live album. Perhaps it’s because he didn’t overdo it in the studio. Thompson has said that he and his trio banged out the recording with minimal fuss, and the lack of embellishment does these songs good. Fortunately, austerity doesn’t come at the price of substance, and the songwriting, guitar work and vocals boast an abundance of depth and truth. Whether singing plaintively on the midtempo, country-esque “Where’s Home?” or finding funk in “Stuck on the Treadmill,” Thompson showcases an expeditionary spirit in full blossom. Ironically, some of the most stirring moments are acoustic. “The Snow Goose,” featuring Alison Krauss, is chilling in its directness, while “Saving the Good Stuff for You” uses Stuart Duncan’s fiddle to wring further emotion. That’s classic Thompson: Expect one thing, he’ll deliver the opposite—and you’ll never regret it. –Jeff Tamarkin

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