The Deal: Rage Against the Machine guitarist releases sophomore solo disc.
The Good: Shedding his guitar-shredding image and picking up an acoustic guitar was no easy task, but Morello sounds a lot more comfortable on his second effort. Instead of binding himself to an only-acoustic rule, Morello adds some drums and effects to widen the spectrum of the album's sound. He also gets some vocal help on "The Iron Wheel" from Shooter Jennings and on "Lazarus on Down" from System of a Down's Serj Tankian. Morello's political background (he graduated from Harvard with a degree in political science) comes through strongly – no surprise to fans of the politically conscious RATM. You could easily mix and match the songs on this album with his debut – he fits in along the folkies like Dylan and those with more of a rock edge like Springsteen.
The Bad: Just like the last one, it's not Rage Against the Machine, however Morello has definitely created his own identity and sound with The Nightwatchman. He may not be the best singer, but this is more about the message than the vocal talent.
The Verdict: If you hated the first one, you'll hate this one, too. If you enjoyed the first one, then you'll be surprised by the difference a little depth in his sound makes.