[3 December 2007]
Say some fairly successful British Invasion band of the mid ‘60s decided to expand upon their infectious melodies and head-shaking rhythms to create a new direction in rock and roll. And say, for the sake of this hypothetical, that this new direction became what we know as the alternative country movement; had this happened, the aural result might sound something like The Payola Reserve. The Baltimore quartet combine the folksy charms and arrangements of country rockers with an early British rock aesthetic. Truth be told, the unsigned band does so with such success that they should be snatched up by a label any day now. Standout tracks include opener “Grade A Television”, the rootsy “All Things Are Better in Heaven” and the title track. A great intersection of past and present sounds, 200 Years is an engaging record that displays a band with a bright future.