The Drag City star’s third album, the two-hour-long triple-record “Have One on Me,” is an expansion of Newsom’s gaze, as the songstress weaves more baroque passages into epic storytelling. The harp remains Newsom’s instrument of choice, though the piano makes notable appearances as well; lyrically, she’s playing in the same field of elevated sorrow, though some of the arrangements have been punched up. Newsom couldn’t have written a song like “Good Intentions Paving Company,” chamber pop all jazzed up, before now—it’s that sort of stretching of the muscles, and increase in confidence, that makes this record keep pace with the other two. Newsom’s aching numbers ultimately serve as the backbone of this massive collection—”Go Long,” terrific, is a serious mourner, “In California breaks you in half and closer “Does Not Suffice,” driven by Newsom’s simple piano playing, could be the record’s top achievement. “Have One on Me” is an exhausting affair—simply too much much to be taken in during one sitting—and that harms the effectiveness. (The album could’ve been cut by four or five songs, at least.) Newsom may not be able to match the ingenuity and freshness of her debut, “Milk-Eyed Mender,” but as far as monumental records of colossal scope, you could do much worse. (Tom Lynch)
April 3 at Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield, (773)472-0449, at 7:30pm.