Rae Spoon is an extraordinarily talented musician and singer, with a diverse and varied history of playing country, indie rock, and electronica. Ten years and ten albums in, Spoon had the ability to do pretty much anything with My Prairie Home, but the result is a mixed bag.
The album plays, for the most part, like straight-up story-fed country. It’s not that Spoon is in want for things to write about — the effects of rural life on minorities, ignorance, and abuse are just some of the heavy topics Spoon decides to tackle — but the instrumentation applied is uninspired and static under the lyrics.
My Prairie Home is Spoon’s Nashville Skyline, a record made mostly with simple strong structures and largely universal themes that seems to dedicate too much time to country tropes and Spoon’s soft voice.
My Prairie Home is at its most interesting when it realizes itself as the soundtrack that it is, to a National Film Board documentary of the same name. Interludes like “Glacier Step,” “Moving Bus,” and “Airplane Home” flesh out the 19-song recording with ambience and beauty, and are also some of the few tracks where Spoon’s rich history with electronic experimentation bursts through the seams. Meanwhile, the grungy, power-chord-fueled “Snake In The Water” plays black sheep with distortion and legitimate rock yowling.
My Prairie Home is the whole of several half-realized but fully-distinct parts. Together, it’s a rocky but enjoyable road, showing off where Rae Spoon has come from musically without bothering to blend it up at all.