Portland, Oregon’s Richmond Fontaine’s newest release is a limited edition that takes life from their previous album, 2007’s Thirteen Cities, using the track “$87 and a Guilty Conscience that Gets Worse the Longer I Go” from that record as the centerpiece. These outtakes from Thirteen Cities, as well as a few new songs, are populated with the same cast of downtrodden characters that seem to inhabit Richmond Fontaine’s best work. It is those same characters that live on the fringe of society, who spend days getting drunk and feeling alienated, looking for their break and still believing in the American Dream, that bring Richmond Fontaine’s music to life.
Musically Richmond Fontaine lives where they always have, somewhere between Uncle Tupelo’s last record and Son Volt’s first, mining that same well-worn, alt-country, rock sound. Its when the band deviates from that sound that things get more interesting, such as on the piano driven “Kid from Belmont Street gets Left on Colfax St. Denver, CO” that features a muted trumpet. It would be nice to see the band take more of these chances and move away from that all to familiar sound, but in it serves them well, and as with all of Richmond Fontaine’s albums, it is the stories that are told on $87 and a Guilty Conscience that Gets Worse the Longer I Go that keep you coming back for more.
$87 and a Guilty Conscience that Gets Worse the Longer I Go is out now on Décor Records.