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The Literary Greats

Ocean, Meet the Valley

(self-released; US: 22 Sep 2010; UK: Import)

Cracker comparisons are inevitable

This Houston five-piece sounds uncannily like Cracker at times, but The Literary Greats still manage, for the most part,  to infuse the easygoing rock of Ocean, Meet the Valley with its own sensibility. “That Mountain Yonder” works well as an album opener, with Brandon Elam and Taylor Lee’s twinned vocals riding along crests of peppy guitar. “Oh Abilene” rocks out convincingly enough, while slower songs like “The Black Bee” and “Dreadnought” change up the pace a bit. By the time listeners reach the last three songs, Cracker comparisons have faded, if not disappeared entirely. “Ruby Sapphire” trundles along courtesy of a propulsive bass line, “Ocean Waves” opts for aching wistfulness, and “Hill Country Queen” is just sweet in a way that’s entirely absent of irony and cleverness. A follow-up to the band’s self-titled 2007 debut, this album is consistently mid-tempo, middle-of-the-road and easy on the ears.

Rating:

DAVID MAINE is a novelist and essayist. His books include The Preservationist (2004), Fallen (2005), The Book of Samson (2006), Monster, 1959 (2008) and An Age of Madness (2012). He has contributed to The Washington Post, Publishers Weekly, Esquire.com and NPR.com, among other outlets. He is a lifelong music obsessive whose interests range from rock to folk to hip-hop to international to blues. He currently lives in western Massachusetts, where he works in human services. Catch up with his blog, The Party Never Stops, at davidmaine.blogspot.com, or become his buddy on Facebook (or Twitter or Google+ or whatever you prefer) to keep up with reviews and other developments.


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The Literary Greats -"That Mountain Yonder"
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