From now on, every new Ryan Adams release can be considered an 'event' for me. His music with the cardinals was what got me into the whole alternative-country scene. This is not a new album per say; the songs were actually recorded back in '06. Those sessions would also result in 2007's Easy Tiger. Volumes III and IV are supposed to be a follow-up to Cold Roses. However, these newly released batch of songs can't hold a candle to that 2005 classic. And they don't sound like those Easy Tiger stuff either. If anything, they sound more Rock N Roll, an album which I particularly enjoyed. But it ain't as good as Rock N Roll, though many will disagree with me. So those looking for a more country rock sound may be disappointed. So rock songs aplenty here, but none in the same vein as the likes of Halloweenhead and Magick (you'll have to forgive me with all the comparing).
Having said that, III/IV is just a good record, nothing more. It's also the first Ryan Adams record not to floor me immediately. About half the songs are slightly above mediocre at best. Despite it being a concept record, I think it's his most unfocused one, though there are standout tracks scattered throughout. Numbers is one; what starts as a punk song moves into ultra mellow country territory and then back into punk. And songs like Wasteland, Gracie and the little duet with Norah Jones on Typecast bring me right back to Easy Tiger and Cardinology. How I miss those days. The album concludes with the somewhat weird Kill The Lights. Listen to it for the nice Grateful Dead style jam. At the end of the day, I won't find myself revisiting the whole album much. Give me Cold Roses any day.