Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

Reviews of Attainable Hi-Fi & Home-Theater Equipment

  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Reference 160M Amplifier (February 2019)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Livio Cucuzza on Audio Research's Industrial Design (November 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Audio Research Past, Present, and Future (October 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - KEF's New R Series for 2018 (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio Moon 390 Digital/Analog Preamplifier and Streamer (September 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - EISA 2018-2019 Awards Introduction (August 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Simaudio's $118,888 Moon 888 Mono Amplifiers (June 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Totem's Tribe Tower (May 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion's Three Newest Argon Loudspeakers (April 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Making the Hegel Mohican CD Player (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Estelon Lynx Wireless Intelligent Loudspeaker (March 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh's Five New Solid-State Integrated Amplifiers (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Amphion's Krypton Loudspeaker (January 2018)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Anthem STR Preamplifier and Power Amplifier (December 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh Laboratory MA252 Integrated Amplifier (November 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Hegel H90 and H190 Integrated Amplifiers (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - How Hegel's SoundEngine Works (October 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight  - Estelon History and YB and Extreme Loudspeakers (September 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - What Makes Hegel Different? (August 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Estelon Extreme Legacy Edition Loudspeaker (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Amphion Overview and Technologies (July 2017)
  • SoundStage! Insight - Totem Acoustic Signature One Loudspeaker (June 2017)
  • SoundStage! Encore - The Cowboy Junkies'
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Anthem's STR Integrated Amplifier (May 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- Paradigm's Perforated Phase Alignment (PPA) Lenses (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Paradigm's Persona 9H Loudspeaker (March 2017)
  • SoundStage! InSight -- Contrasts: Dynaudio's Contour and Focus XD Speaker Lines (February 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - New Technologies in MartinLogan's Masterpiece Series
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Dynaudio/Volkswagen Car Audio (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Gryphon Philosophy and the Kodo and Mojo S Speakers (January 2017)
  • SoundStage! Shorts -- What's a Tonmeister? (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - AxiomAir N3 Wireless Speaker System (December 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Bang & Olufsen BeoLab 90 (November 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Gryphon Diablo 120 Integrated Amplifier (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Dynaudio History and Driver Technology (October 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - The Story How Gryphon Began (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - Devialet History, ADH Technology, and Expert 1000 Pro (September 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - Devialet's Phantom Loudspeakers (August 2016)
  • SoundStage! InSight - McIntosh Home Theater and Streaming Audio (July 2016)
  • SoundStage! Shorts - McIntosh MC275 Stereo Amplifier (June 2016)

Internal SoundsOutside Music 23339-9087-2
Format: CD

Musical Performance ****
Sound Quality ***1/2
Overall Enjoyment ****


The Sadies formed in 1994, in Toronto, and it says something about the music business that a band this good isn’t better known in the US. Two of the members, Dallas and Travis Good, are nephews of Brian and Larry Good, of the well-regarded Canadian country group the Good Brothers. Country music forms a part of the band’s sound, but they’re so versatile that they can play blues and garage rock with the same skill and conviction. They’ve played and recorded with blues singer Andre Williams, and with John Doe of X (Country Club, 2009), but are perhaps best known for their work with Neko Case.

Internal Sounds is the band’s tenth album under their own name (seven additional albums are collaborations with other artists). The crashing, overdriven guitars in “The First 5 Minutes” are raw garage rock that will take you back to the late ’60s -- I flashed on Van Morrison and Them, but the tune evokes the sounds of a number of great bands without ever merely stealing from them. During a solo section in the middle of the track, twin guitars snake around each other to exhilarating effect.

In sharp contrast to that opening track are the acoustic guitars and mandolin and the vocal harmonies of “So Much Blood.” I suppose a comparison to the Band is inevitable here, but the low-toned guitar solo sets this track apart, and the songwriting is so strong that it stands on its own. The country punk “The Very Beginning” and “Another Tomorrow Again” are tough without sacrificing finesse, and contain enough flashy guitar work to demonstrate that the Sadies have instrumental chops to match their great songwriting.

The vocal harmonies in “Leave This World Behind” are the purest traditional country, but “The Very Beginning” seems to take the best parts of the Outlaws and the 13th Floor Elevators to create something altogether new, and “Starting All Over Again” recalls the glory days of AM radio, when bands could try anything and have the possibility of coming out of nowhere with a hit. Every song on Internal Sounds is a surprise because the Sadies have a broad command of musical styles that they fully exploit. Despite its variety, the album never feels scattershot -- it has the unified sound of a band with a distinct identity that knows how to get the sounds it wants.

Legendary Canadian folksinger Buffy Sainte-Marie, now 73, joins the band on the closing track, “We Are Circling,” for which she wrote the lyrics. It’s like nothing else on the disc -- a stunning, moody piece of folk psychedelia that closes this perhaps too-short (just over 34 minutes) disc.

Dallas Good produced and mixed Internal Sounds, and he’s given it a lot of rock’n’roll energy while letting the details show through. Mike Belitsky’s no-nonsense drumming rings out, and Sean Dean’s solid bass lines are clear and full. A lot of rock’n’roll discs will get more attention than Internal Sounds this year, but none will be better.

. . . Joseph Taylor