Jason Anderson has officially fully embraced his solo persona, rather than the bombastic and transplanted-from-a-sold-out-stadium-show antics of Wolf Colonel. 'The Wreath' shows him to be completely comfortable in his acoustic troubadour suit, echoing strains of a long line of sensitive folksters and songwriters (everyone from Bruce Springsteen to Bright Eyes). The difference with Jason is that he's actually really good.
'The Wreath' is his best recording to date, hands down. Masterfully produced by Jeremy Jensen in Boise, Idaho, each song glows. Secondary guitar parts, piano, drums, trumpet and backing vocals flesh this out perfectly. However, the real star here isn't Jason, or his songs. It's Jeremy's wife, who provides backing vocals throughout. Her expressive voice and slightly weird vocalization snag Jason's spotlight.
The reworked version of "Citizen's Arrest" (originally on 'Something/Everything') is greatly improved by Rachel's voice, and a great horn part at the end. "Theory and Practice" displays a great sense of interplay, not only in Jason and Rachel's vocals, but in the two guitar parts. The last three tracks pack a nice punch, ending the album on an urgent and hopeful tone.
The moment Rachel's vocals come in on "My Balancing Act," this album goes from being a nice addition to K Records' take on American Folk-Punk to an album that demands your attention. Or at least, succeeds at achieving the melancholy it had been aiming for. Which, is a rare thing when there are so many failed attempts crowding the used bins at every record store in the country. Rachel's counterpoint vocals of "Oh you're trying so hard," are heartwrenching. This song (and more generally, the album) sounds exactly how sad, indie dudes with acoustic guitars should sound. 9/10 -- Dick Baldwin (25 May, 2005)