The only thing surprising about the BoDeans' recent breakup is that it didn't happen sooner.
Despite their smooth vocal harmonies, Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann seemed to grow increasingly distant over the last decade. Neumann moved to Austin. Llanas stayed in Milwaukee. Neumann enjoyed recording and producing. Llanas stuck to acoustic guitar and writing songs.
They've reacted differently to the breakup, too. Neumann is talking. Llanas isn't. Neumann has retained the BoDeans name. Llanas has let go of it. Neumann has released a cheesy Packers spirit song. Llanas is releasing an album of intimate tracks that explore the loving, lonely, conflicted feelings of nighttime.
"Shyne" begins with an embrace of evening beauty - the moonlight, warm wind and city lights. It all creates an intoxicating urge to "tempt the devil's daughter." It's a feeling the song wrestles with and ultimately disowns. "I don't want to go there right now," sings Llanas.
Bukka Allen's accordion adds emotional depth to the way "Oh, Celia" pines for love. Gary Tanin's production enhances the album's delicate, close-up sound.
4 A.M. is a gorgeous collection that reveals why Llanas was long overdue to step out of the shadow of the BoDeans.