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Desert Noises

27 Ways

(SQE Music; US: 25 Mar 2014; UK: Import)

Back-to-basics four-piece rock

Desert Noises play rock and roll with a degree of enthusiasm that’s much welcome in these days of anemic indie-pop bands and posturing metal acts. Debut full-length 27 Ways is an at times raucous, at times joyous amalgamation of guitar riffs, harmonized vocals and percussive bashing that goes a good ways to restoring one’s faith in the healing power of rock and roll. Lead track “Grandma Looks” doses out all these elements with verve and abandon, and if this level of excitement is rarely matched on the rest of the record, well, it’s not lacking entirely. “Out of My Head”, “Shiver” and “Keys on the Table” are all energetic if unsurprising workouts, while slower tunes like “Run Through the Woods” and “Elephant’s Bed” make good use of the band’s charismatic, string-bending guitar, notwithstanding the latter’s egregious vocals (“Why are you such a pain? / I don’t mean to complain / But you’re driving me insane”). Penultimate track “Angels” is a slow-burner at six minutes plus, a tune that manages to sustain its length through wistful vocals and a deft musical touch. This isn’t a band that brings much new to the table, but they recombine elements in a satisfying manner, and even deliver a transcendent moment or two.

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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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