With vocals that are half Radney Foster, half Dexter Holland (lead singer of The Offspring) and all Texas grit, Austin Collins’ second album, Roses are Black is a solid collection of high-energy Americana. With his backing band The Rainbirds providing above-average alt-country accompaniment, Collins delves into introspection without ever becoming boring, cliche, or maudlin. While the album’s titular song is musically kind of a drag despite its pointed lyrics, the rest of the tracks are keepers, especially the bitter “Unapology”: “I wanted to, but I never needed you / So I listed and put myself prone / Love’s not a figure, but we settled the score / And there always seems to be proof in what we own”. While some Americana bands tend toward the shallow side on their lyrics, Austin Collins proves that you can have both style and substance in abundance on an alt-country record.
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