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Nearly Beloved

Where's Bob?

(US: 28 Feb 2012; UK: Import)

Country tunes, with laughs (or not)

Nearly Beloved is a jaunty, jokey country-roots band centered around Matt Lax, who plays guitar and sings all the songs. The musicianship is competent enough, but the set quickly grows wearing, as the band seems as interested in being funny as in being musically compelling (see also: band name). Yeah, “Cool Fucking Sunset” is a solid tune, and its smooth Beach Boys-esque refrain is good for a chuckle the first few times, but the relentless tongue-in-cheekiness of the record grows tiresome by the second half.


Toe-tapping opener “My Memory” and bittersweet ballad “The Moon and Morning Star” are both good tunes, but the record as a whole exudes an air of trying too hard: title track “Where’s Bob?” is tedious in the extreme, as is “Tomorrow Won’t Be the Future” and “My P-Role Officer”. And whoever had the bright idea to cover an untouchable song like “Subterranean Homesick Blues” should be run out of the band.

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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