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Alex Larson and his band hail from Minnesota and set about their second recorded outing by arranging the use of a big old wooden barn. Laying down the base tracks live to room microphones has resulted in a core sound that is kind of warm and muddy – in the best possible way. These twelve original songs have their roots in rockabilly and blues (the line up is guitar, stand-up bass and drums) and the whole thing is played with considerable energy and pizzazz. Whatever else this album is, it’s great fun. They can settle into the deep, mournful blues of a song like Trail of Tears, but you’re more likely to engage with the low down, knowing fun of Dancin’ in the Dirt or the young man’s restlessness of I Wanna Play. When he says “play”, you’re not in doubt as to what kind of play he’s mostly got in mind.
Three songs suggest he’s experienced life well beyond one-night stands – two pleas to his woman not to leave and one very funny one about what he’s going to do to the guy who’s been running round with his wife. The style touches on swing and some pretty hard-rocking stuff whilst that skuzzy, muddy sound is there throughout in glorious fashion. There’s a whole stack of extra instrumentation beefing things up – horns, sax, piano and organ being particularly evident – but they never stray far from the sound the three man band can reproduce live. They sometimes give me the impression of being a little too much in a hurry to get on; there’s more to be milked from these fine songs, I think, but you have to say that you’d rather have the energy and sense of fun that you get here than any misguided attempt at emotional drama. Fine stuff, anyway.
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