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The Pendrakes

Sunday Punch

(Self-released; US: 2007; UK: Unavailable)

The Pendrakes offer something extra for the alt-country fan.  Led by singer/songwriter/guitarist Paul Novak, the Pendrakes move through power-pop tunes infused with Americana grit.  Sunday Punch does offer some zingers, including “A Real Go Getter” and full-swing “Down to Size”, with the former perhaps forcing some rhymes.  “She was a real go getter / Knew how to fill a sweater / Face like an Irish setter / People stopped by to pet her” sings Novak.  Despite the forced rhyme scheme, however, the song is fairly endearing.  The song surrounds itself around its power riff, but is offset by a country swagger and weeping lengthy guitar notes. 
 
“Closed Casket” offers a Southwestern twang with Cory Weber on electric guitar and pedal steel and Craig Meier playing country bass.  Occasionally Novak recalls Cake’s John McCrea with his smooth baritone over tambourine and faded dissonant vocal harmonies.  The Pendrakes don’t restrict themselves to the two aforementioned genres.  The heavy-hitters are sandwiched between sullen, protracted moments like the deflated “A Man Barely Alive” and Italian bistro “Vandalia Heights” (with drummer Eric Ebers on accordion).  The album closes with swing lounge number “All About Love”, a track recorded live.  All in all, this twangy pop concoction brings varied alt-country buffet fare.

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