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While the name “pug” generally inspires images of excitable canines, Joe Pug‘s second album Messenger is of a decidedly more melancholy nature. His 2007 debut EP, Nation of Heat, was a tribute to the trials of quarter-life-crisis sufferers full of fierce guitar strums and harmonica riffs. Though not a total miss, Pug’s second album lacks the drive of the first, conveying a message of uncertainty and lacking the musical vitality of his debut. Messenger is mostly made up of Pug and his guitar, allowing his writing – his best asset – to be the main focus. But unfortunately, with the lack of unchained and old soul energy that made up his first album, Messenger never fully delivers.

To read more of Steve Kolowich‘s review, go here.