Opener "It's A Shame, It's A Pity" gives the album a shove in the right direction with a boot-stomping beat and collective vocals backing up Kevin Murphy's lead. This song is catchy and a perfect example of everything that The Moondoggies seem to be aiming for. Unfortunately, that first song is the album's biggest highlight. After that, there are good moments and bad moments but the album lacks a clear direction and intention behind the songs. "Tidelands" is a good next step from the opener, taking the album into more rock 'n' roll territory than folk. Kevin Murphy has nothing on folk frontmen like Robin Pecknold of Fleet Foxes or Ben Bridwell of Band of Horses, but there is some appeal to his ordinary but hearty vocals, especially when the choral-like backing vocals add depth.
The acoustic "Empress Of The North" attempts to add variety to the album with a quiet moment, and while it is a pretty song to be sure, it comes off as a bit of a let down in the middle of an album that is trying to veer towards rock. "Lead Me On" takes second place for the album's most successful song, with strong vocals and a violin-tinged melody. The rest of the record has all the right pieces for a standout set of songs, but for some reason they are always one missing element away from being memorable, with the exception of "It's A Shame, It's A Pity." This is a band with massive potential, and as only their sophomore release, Tidelands just hasn't quite hit it yet.