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Another Blue Door, Haulers (Stinky)
Hailing from Oshawa, Ontario, located just east of Toronto, Another Blue Door's debut album has a lot of credibility going for it. Produced and mixed by some of Toronto's finest, the band begins with a Cars-ish "Nova Scotia", but it's far from the slick polished pop of Ocasek and his henchmen. Plodding with an alternative sound, it slowly builds over time into a fine piece of Reed-like work circa New York. Influences like Neil Young, The Replacements and even Roger Waters can be heard on "Dirty Fingers" and also the thoughtful and somber "Christmas '98", a melancholic acoustic tune about returning to an empty bed as an old flame has a new beau. "Streetlight Song" follows a similar pattern with a bit more Americana meat tucked into it. "American Guitars" is another solid pop rock tune that hits you in the gut immediately with its Richards-like pickin'. The alt.country twang is a common thread throughout the album, particularly on the pretty "Muzzled", a tune that doesn't do anything outstanding, just everything very well. Only on "How're Thing?" do they seem to be giving less than a stellar effort, perhaps due to the rather straightforward pop rock sound, despite name-dropping Leonard Cohen and Canadian cult icons The Rheostatics. A very impressive album from a band you should hear much more from. Look no further than the adorable closer "Ithaca, N.Y."