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Quiet Life

Big Green

(Safety Meeting; US: 25 Jan 2011; UK: Import)

Plowing a well-worn furrow, with good results

Quiet Life play loose, Grateful Dead-meets-the Band-style jams, led by drawling, likeable singer Sean Spellman, whose voice carries shades of Cracker’s David Lowrey. If I’m relying on a lot of touchstones here, it’s because the music itself is nothing particularly new. It follows the familiar, well-worn folk-rock furrows that have been throwing up nuggets for decades now. There’s something to be said, however, for playing a familiar style with skill and conviction, which is just what Quiet Life do.


The tunes are pretty good too, whether channeling harmonica-drenched country blues like “Cave Country”, the squalling guitar stomp of “Nighttime”, or the swooping, downtempo slide guitar of “Easy to Please”. Bluesy raunch raises its head in “The Boss, Man”, to good effect, harmonica and all. Not all songs are successful; “Let It Go” strives for arena-rock awesomeness but fails, while lo-fi prank “Sweet as Molasses” is just plain annoying. There are far more hits than misses here, however.

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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