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The Morgansterns

No Talking

(Microhits, Inc; US: 25 Jan 2011; UK: 25 Jan 2011)

No frills rock 'n' roll, grunge/alt variety

The Morgansterns don’t exactly rewrite the alt-rock songbook on their debut LP, but what they do, they do very well. Vocals are ragged without being grating, and the classic-by-way-of-grunge guitar attack is filled out with thumping rhythms, organ accents and soaring melodies. Album opener “Torn in Two” launches the proceedings effectively, but it’s Crazy Horse-esque rockers “Stop Draggin’” and “Big Time” that do the heavy lifting. The album’s back half winds down a bit, with slower tunes like “The Dreamer” and “Waiting to Begin” predominating. They’re compelling enough in their way, when the band doesn’t try too hard to sound like Springsteen, but the sense of anticlimax is almost inevitable given the album’s strong start. Despite that, this record gives notice that there’s still some life in those old rock ‘n’ roll bones yet.

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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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