Though most of the members of Widespread Panic have moved out of Athens, Ga., the band’s eleventh studio release proves that it hasn’t necessarily forgotten its roots. Dirty Side Down finds the band reuniting with longtime friend and Athens-based producer John Keane at his home studio for the first time since 2003’s Ball —and in many ways, returning to form.
The dark, multi-layered compositions that made the band a household name are back. In fact, many of the tracks feel like they could have lived on 1999’s ’Til The Medicine Takes, especially the haunting, stripped-down opening number “Saint Ex” and the album’s title track. The result is not only a reminder of Panic’s breadth of influences, but also its range of talents: all of the band members share songwriting duties and that unity shows—the band sounds more like Widespread Panic than anything it has released since founding guitarist Michael Houser’s passing in 2002. — Relix
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