Sweet Warrior Shout! Factory Music •••• Sound ••••½
With any hopes of crossover success long behind him, Thompson has simply made one more excellent album for the faithful. Which isn't to say that he makes things too comfortable. This is both his longest single CD (68:12) and one of his most challenging, with the prevailing love-as-battlefield theme resulting in songs that sound somber even for him - plus one powerful Iraq protest song ("Dad's Gonna Kill Me," as in Baghdad). Thompson's production is an ambitious change from his recent bare-bones approach, building atmospheres with multiple guitar and vocal overdubs and bringing the old Fairport Convention folk-rock sound back into play. As always, the glimpses of hope (and the killer guitar work) come through with repeated spins, and fans won't mind that they have to work a little harder this time. If anything, the two novelty songs detract from the album's dark allure.