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Mark Lucas and the Dead Setters

Putting on the Dog

(Laughing Outlaw; US: 11 Aug 2010; UK: 11 Aug 2010)

Rock 'n' roll from Down Under

Self-described purveyors of “Australian roots music”, Mark Lucas and the Dead Setters play what sounds to these American ears as fairly middle-of-the-road rock and roll, with a bit of country twang in the mix. Lucas conjures up images of hitting the road, of wandering through familiar towns, of jaded seekers searching for love—the details might be particular to Australia, but the feeling is familiar far beyond that country’s borders.


And the songs? They tend to be agreeable, mid-tempo rockers, with Lucas’s plaintive voice sailing above the band.  There’s the expected mix of guitars, drums and bass, with a bit of fiddle, pedal steel or harmonica for that country accent. “Firewater” stands out for its brooding bass line and lyrics like “Been in trouble since I don’t remember when”.  “Rainbow’s End” sashays along in a bluesy, slide-guitar way, while “Standing on a Bridge” chug-a-lugs like Bo Diddley.


Elsewhere, songs tend to blur together a bit, although “Price of Love” wails nicely, courtesy of twinned harp and guitar lines and its pithy lyrics: “Even my generation votes for greed and war”. Sadly, that bit is true outside Australia, as well.

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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