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The Kickbacks

Motel Stars

(Peeled Label)

Having opened for artists like Tim Easton, Robbie Fulks and Slobberbone, The Kickbacks know what Americana is all about. And they excel in that realm on this album. Whether it is the slow building “$$$” that steadily moves into something better and bigger or the up-tempo Westerbergian “Collect Calling For You”, The Kickbacks can do little wrong. A later highlight is the ballad “Jealous of the Stars” that is quite gritty and alt.country-ish. Led by singer and chief songwriter Tad Overbaugh, the band nails “Lazy Eye” that sounds like Steve Earle fronting the Gin Blossoms. After a tender ballad “Fixed to Be Broken”, the quartet miss the mark with the electro-lite touches of “I Crash Cars” which sounds a bit like a car wreck at times, resembling a Goo Goo Dolls b-side. Fortunately they up the ante with the punchy, foot-stomping “Lethal Charm” and the closing “Lights Flicker” that is a moody, mid-tempo piece. It’s an album you can definitely kick back to with very little filler.

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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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