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Mando Saenz

Bucket

(Carnival; US: 5 Feb 2008; UK: Available as import)

Following the success of his last album, Mando Saenz sounds far more confident in his material beginning with the light and gorgeous “Wrong Guy” that sounds like some mash-up of The BoDeans and The Jayhawks. However, Saenz still has his strong roots rock and pop sensibilities as is easily evident on the catchy, smart and radio-friendly “Pocket Of Red” that is equal parts Tim Finn as it is Keith Richards. Throughout it all, Saenz never drops the ball. Hell, he never comes close during the strong “A Touch Is All”. If there’s one snag with the record, it might be how he mines basically a lot of the same musical terrain during songs like “Seven Dollars” that is basically Americana 101. The same is also quite true of “I Don’t Like It” which is hard not to lap up, recalling a track Ryan Adams got around too but never entirely perfected. Regardless of this at times little pet peeve, the musician nails most of these songs out of the park, especially the rich “Come Out Tonight” with its string accents and the alt.country leanings fuelling “Candy Red”.

Rating:

Originally from Cape Breton, MacNeil is currently writing for the Toronto Sun as well as other publications, including All Music Guide, Billboard.com, NME.com, Country Standard Time, Skope Magazine, Chart Magazine, Glide, Ft. Myers Magazine and Celtic Heritage. A graduate of the University of King's College, MacNeil currently resides in Toronto. He has interviewed hundreds of acts ranging from Metallica and AC/DC to Daniel Lanois and Smokey Robinson. MacNeil (modestly referred to as King J to friends), a diehard Philadelphia Flyers fan, has seen the Rolling Stones in a club setting, thereby knowing he will rest in peace at some point down the road. Oh, and he writes for PopMatters.com.


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