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Sleepercar

West Texas

(Doghouse; US: 22 Apr 2008; UK: Available as import)

Sleepercar is a side project of At the Drive In alumnus and current Sparta mainman Jim Ward. The songs on West Texas were borne of Ward’s discovery of Gram Parsons and Old 97’s. That makes perfect sense when you consider the dusty ballads and roadhouse rock that make up most of the set. West Texas doesn’t chart any new territory for the alt.country genre. Fans of Ward’s influences or early Wilco will probably like what they hear. The sound is rich and full, the songs aren’t half bad, yet for some reason it all just doesn’t come together. For one thing, Ward’s thin, low-in-the-mix voice just doesn’t mesh with the more rustic material. “Sound the Alarm”, more indebted to ‘80s and ‘90s alt-rock, makes the most lasting impression. It’s a sign that, while Ward’s love of Americana is sincere, his true forte is probably with his day job.

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John Bergstrom has been writing various reviews and features for PopMatters since 2004. He has been a music fanatic at least since he and a couple friends put together The Rock Group Dictionary in third grade (although he now admits that giving Pat Benatar the title of "first good female rocker" was probably a mistake). He has done freelance writing for Trouser Pressonline, Milwaukee's Shepherd Express, and the late Milk magazine and website. He currently resides in Madison, Wisconsin with his wife and two kids, both of whom are very good dancers.


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