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Denney & the Jets

Mexican Coke

(Burger; US: 8 Apr 2014; UK: 8 Apr 2014)

Chris Denney, main man for Denney & the Jets, seemed to have lived hard young, as stories from the band’s debut, Mexican Coke, feel both young and weary. Denney recorded the album in five days, and the quick turnaround gives these dusty tracks a vibrant life. These songs shift from bluesy garage rock on “Water to Wine” and “Bye Bye Queenie” to the swampy country crunch of “Mama’s Got the Blues” and the twanging balladry of “Runnin’ Through the Woods”. There’s a taut center to these rambling songs, a zeal smoldering under the seemingly laid-back surface of these tracks. That combination makes the record easy listening, good for a party or a beer on the porch.


But while Denney and company have personality and energy to spare on their debut, these songs are also trying to find their own voice among all these traditions. The more spare moments here, “Pain Pills” and “Runnin’ Through the Woods” in particular, feel the most personal and let us past the veneer of musical tradition and into something true. More of that going forward is what Denney & the Jets needs. For now, they’ve got a solid debut to build on.

Rating:

Matthew Fiander is a music critic for PopMatters and Prefix Magazine. He also writes fiction and his work has appeared in The Yalobusha Review. He received his M.F.A. in Creative Writing from UNC-Greensboro and currently teaches writing and literature at High Point University in High Point, NC. You can follow him on Twitter at @mattfiander.


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Denney & the Jets - "Bye Bye Queenie"
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