The songwriting gifts of twangy Canadian rockers the Sadies are often overshadowed by their musical collaborators — a list that includes Neil Young, the Band’s Garth Hudson, Neko Case and Jon Langford, to name a few. But Internal Sounds, the quartet’s 16th studio album, is an impeccable encapsulation of their strengths. Produced by vocalist/guitarist Dallas Good, the full-length touches on familiar sounds: barnstorming garage jangle (“The First 5 Minutes”), elegiac folk (the mandolin-aided “So Much Blood”), cowpunk (“Another Tomorrow Again”) and the kind of nostalgic alt-country that flourishes in the U.S. Midwest (the fiddle-augmented, Bottle Rockets-like “Another Yesterday Again”; the Uncle Tupelo-esque harmonies and ragged heart of “The Very Beginning”).
Still, Internal Sounds isn’t afraid to take chances: The 90-second “The Very Ending” is an ever-so-brief foray into prog rock, while the album-closing “We Are Circling” is a heavy psych drone that boasts mesmerizing interlocking vocals from Buffy Sainte-Marie, who unearthed lyrics she wrote in 1971 for the occasion. Lyrically, the Sadies are just as brave; songs touch on past indiscretions and heartaches, but feature protagonists who are self-aware enough to overcome these struggles and push past regret (“I can’t change what’s done is done/ I won’t fight for anyone but me”). This indefatigable mindset gives Internal Sounds an optimistic edge that’s inspiring and age-defying.