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Ryan Adams and the Cardinals 

III/IV (Pax-Am)

The double album has always been one of those “Oh really now, how dare you” rock ’n’ roll statements. Hard enough to fill one disc with consistently great material? Try two. But there are several defining moments in the double-album canon, and while III/IV isn’t quite those masterpieces, it is a textbook lesson in songwriting craftsmanship and passionate execution. Say what you will about Mr. Adams persona of late or his foray into (almost) every genre imaginable, but as a prolific artist, few can match his versatility. He’s worked The Cardinals into an accompanying band that is as comfortable a go-to platform as Crazy Horse was for Neil Young. While the first platter, III, has a few moments of moodier, slow-tempo ballads mixed in, IV is where Adams and the band really let loose with riff-driven catchy rock that pushes its energy right to the bitter end.

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