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The Volebeats

The Volebeats

(Rainbow Quartz; US: 19 Oct 2010; UK: 25 Oct 2010)

So it may be the same song 19 times, but it’s a pretty damn good song, and the Volebeats, who were called something like “the best band in America” by Ryan Adams, know what they’re doing—they just do it over and over again. It’s great background music. It would be nice at a bar while having a few beers. But they can basically be summed up with three genres: psych-pop, country-rock, and paisley underground. They write “small” songs, for lack of a better term, straight out of 1969, with seemingly no intention of producing anything revelatory. While taking my notes, I found myself using the words “nice” and “pleasant” on a frequent basis. If the Volebeats were willing to take more chances, to branch out and expand their sound, I am confident they could produce something fabulous. As they’re capable of exceptional melodies and terrific vocal harmonies, I can’t fault them much—those are two of the most important things in conventional songwriting. Highlighting particular songs, some bad, some downright amazing, is just irrelevant. If you like melodic pop/rock with modern tinges of recent Teenage Fanclub and retro hints of Neil Young, with a bit of the in-between, like the Rain Parade, stuck in, this is for you. It’s nice. It’s pleasant.

Rating:

Stephen Rowland has been founding and contributing to numerous underground film and music publications for the last 12 years. In addition to critiquing images and sounds, he makes no money as a regional historian and preservationist, co-authoring "Postcard History Series: Alameda" and "Images of America: Alameda," available from Arcadia Publishing.


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