The Firewatcher’s Daughter

You know you have quite the discography when you write an album that would be considered “the best” for many artists, yet doesn't reach the top of your own impressive catalog. The Firewatcher's Daughter is as raw yet melodic and insightful and introspective as any other Brandi Carlile release, yet in comparison to her previous work, the album never quite takes off. That's not to say it isn't good, mind you; it just feels too familiar for its own good. The gritty rock sensibility of “Blood Muscle Skin and Bone” and Carlile's occasional howls are cut from the same tree as her song “Before It Breaks” (from 2009's Give Up the Ghost). And tracks like “The Things I Regret” and “Beginning to Feel the Years”—despite being emotionally resonant in their exploration of a dark past—play like B-sides from 2012's Bear Creek. There are a lot of beautiful moments on this record (“Heroes and Songs”), the largely folk- and Americana-based sound is engaging, and “Mainstream Kid” is proof that Carlile can bring a hootin', hollerin' good time with the best of them, but overall The Firewatcher's Daughter feels like it's been done before.