Restless band records lively songs, for the most part
Handful of Luvin’ is a chameleon of a band, shape-shifting from reggae-rock to countryesque to folkie on consecutive tracks of their third CD, Life In Between. The country tinge is the most convincing, as on the explosive, galloping “There’s No Right, There’s No Wrong”, but the midtempo reggae ‘n’ roll of opener “Born Lucky” and “Kickdrum” has its own visceral appeal. Instrumentation follows the standard four-piece template—often substituting Andrew Joslyn’s violin for keyboards—but judicious use of other sounds like trumpet and clarinet prevent things from settling into predictability. David John’s expressive vocals add punch, too. The album loses steam when in singer-songwriter mode, which tends to be downtempo and dull, but for every clunker like “Washington” or “Lazy Men”, there’s a much more rewarding “Treaty” or “Bomb Bomb” right around the corner. And penultimate track “Harry Met Rona” is just a straight-up Irish reel, electrified, à la Fairport Convention. What was that about chameleons again?
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