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Roy, Big City Sin and Small Town Redemption (Fueled By Ramen)
After the first listening, Roy's full-length debut, Big City Sin and Small Town Redemption, is strait up Americana -- thickly layered guitars, a large and sometimes languid drumming presence that's totally conducive to head-nodding, and sweet all-American male voices singing about girls and musical integrity. Roy sounds distinctly wholesome. The melodies are classically catchy, the guitar work understated and therefore all the more powerful in its subtlety. But do some research and you'll find that half the band is from Botch, the other half from Harkonen -- serious post-hardcore bands. After Roy's origins are known, a second listening brings out the members' punk roots. The first track, "Something That's Real", has a distinct pop sensibility, but then turns into a Midwestern Bad Religion once the drums kick in. This is the album's strongest track, so don't be surprised when subsequent songs stumble on clumsy lyrics and generic hooks, but for a full-length debut from a bunch of punk rockers-turned-Wilco-disciples, Roy shows promise.