I liked the concept, and the lyrics...all creating an atmosphere of a relationship collapsing under the weight of drugs, infidelity and lack of communication. The songs were mostly fine too, often harking back to the groups mellower country soul influenced moments from 'give out but don't give up'.
I just wish the voices carried that bit more emotion, the kind that the often brilliant lyrics really deserved. Bobby and Jehnny are no Gram and Emmylou however, and to be honest often don't sound suited together.
At its best its really great though - 'English towns' A Scott Walker type waltz combines with the dark lyric to create that feeling of being trapped in life so well, 'remember we were lovers' and 'your heart will always be broken' have beautiful arrangements and are quite affecting. 'stones of silence' tries on a latin style rhythm and pulls it off whilst 'you can trust me now' has something of the Lee and Nancy about it.
Backed with Gillespie's Primal Scream players, 'utopian ashes' is quietly impressive, but I couldn't shake the feeling that it could have been even better.