[HOMESICK HYMNS] Yet another Portland institution is being put to rest: Richmond Fontaine's 11th album, the bittersweet You Can't Go Back If There's Nothing to Go Back To, is the band's last, and like every entry in the seminal Americana outfit's catalog, it goes out with a prolonged whisper, aching for a city and a way of life that no longer exists. For a band that enjoyed its biggest success in the U.K., its oeuvre is rapt with the fringes of Oregonian life, finding bandleader Willy Vlautin talking about people and landmarks—a too-pregnant ex, too-young strippers at Mary's, a too-full house in Felony Flats—as no more than sickly shadows. Between ramshackle micro-burners ("Wake up Ray," "Let's Hit One More Place"), gorgeous weepers ('Whitey and Me") and oases of pristine melody ("Two Friends Lost at Sea"), Vlautin is obviously trying to cap the band's career with something amounting to closure, bringing in familiar names such as producer John Askew and keyboardist Jenny Conlee. Which means You Can't Go Back sounds as solid as previous efforts, only now it's not just mourning the end of Richmond Fontaine—it's eulogizing the end of Portland as we know it. DOM SINACOLA.
SEE IT: Richmond Fontaine plays Star Theater, 13 NW 6th Ave., with the Minus 5 and Mike Coykendall, on Friday, May 13. 9 pm. $12. 21+.