[31 August 2006]
Despite the Jennings-invoking name, the Waylons are not a country band. They are, however, a meat-and-potatoes rock band. Their self-titled debut is a solid slab of rock that begs comparisons to other no-frills acts like the Replacements, Buffalo Tom, and even Sloan and the Shins. As a result, the Waylons (qua Waylons) don’t always shine through, but the band does know its way around a catchy tune. Opener “Front Porch” is a jangly ‘Mats impression, and one of the album’s jauntiest moments. More often than not, though, the band is content (and skillful enough) to charge through one hooky three-minute song, then move onto the next one. Too many bands forget that, at heart, that’s what a band is supposed to do. So, yeah, the band is plenty enjoyable, if not deeply memorable, and one gets the feeling they sound restrained in the studio (compare “Front Porch” with the measured rest of the album), so a live performance may be needed to get a complete picture of the band. For what it’s worth, more than a few tunes—“Day for Night”, “Take Me Out”, and “Alarms”—suggest a move towards more roots rock material, and really, that could be their best move. There’s nothing wrong with an apropos band name.