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Bryan Clark & the New Lyceum Players

Southern Intermission

(Rainfeather; US: 20 Mar 2012; UK: 20 Mar 2012)

A mixed bag

Texas native Bryan Clark offers up a couple rousing songs on Southern Intermission, but unfortunately there’s much more that falls flat. Album opener “Voodoo Flame” is a jolting rocker that auduaciously kicks off the proceedings with a six-minute blend of Southern stomp, slide guitars and lyrics about, well, that voodoo woman over there. With such a promising beginning, Clark sets himself a high standard, but unfortunately isn’t up to meeting it. The term “middle of the road” was coined to describe bands like this; there is nothing particularly compelling until “Southern Amen” bursts forth from the speakers seven songs later. Missteps are many, ranging from the bewilderingly “cute” lyrics of “Transistor Love” to the duller-than-dirt “November Moon”. The songs are well played and Clark can carry a tune as well as the next guy, but there is little here to compel a listener to choose this band over anyone else.

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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