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Austin Collins

Roses are Black

(Fat Caddy; US: 26 Feb 2008; UK: Available as import)

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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Juli Thanki is a graduate student studying trauma and memory in the postbellum South. She tries to live her life by the adage "What Would Dolly Parton Do?" but has yet to build an eponymous theme park, undergo obscene amounts of plastic surgery, or duet with Porter Wagoner (that last one might prove a little difficult, but nevertheless she perseveres). When not writing for PopMatters, Juli can generally be found playing the banjo incompetently, consuming copious amounts of coffee, and tanning in the blue glow of her laptop.


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