Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Review: Demolition String Band - Different Kinds of Love

Label: Breaking Records

Released: November 20, 2007

With a name like Demolition String Band, there's bound to be some preconceptions. The mention of "string band" certainly creates an expectation of a 30s/40s pre-electric country and bluegrass revival. "Demolition," on the other hand, implies breaking down barriers or rejecting rules. In the end though, Demolition String Band isn't really what their name implies.

Their brand of alt-country really stems from country's electric era, from 50s rockabilly to the slicker sounds of the 60s and 70s. There's no question that they're a technically capable group and that has them poised to make an amazing record. The part that's missing most of the way through though is that certain sense of self that gives a band its identity. "Wisteria," for instance, is a great tune, but DSB fails to really project it. Boo Reiners' vocals tend to give the music a quirky boost next to the technically superior though often under-powered voice of Elena Skye, but it's not until the last few tracks that things really come alive. Skye really finds herself in the dark melancholy of "Thank You Claudia." Oddly enough, the band really gets into full swing on a garage rocker, "Undone in Sorrow," and then accelerates into the instrumental "Boonanza" (which seems to be in that race with a certain hot rod Lincoln). Different Kinds of Love finishes strong with the psychobilly rumble of "Drinkin' Whiskey," leaving one to wonder what happened over the first two-thirds of the album.

DSB really comes alive over the last four tracks and more than anything, that just makes me wish that same fire had been lit under the earlier tracks, because there are some really strong songs in there that didn't quite get the treatment that they deserve (and that DSB is clearly capable of giving them). The "string band" misnomer is no big deal, but, the last few songs aside, I could use a little more "demolition."

Satriani: 7/10
Zappa: 5/10
Dylan: 7/10
Aretha: 6/10
Overall: 6/10



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