Write a capsule review about a 19-track, 70-minute album? An impossible task! Well, not when all 19 songs are the same.
So it may be the same song 19 times, but it's a pretty damn good song, and the Volebeats, who were called something like "the best band in America" by Ryan Adams, know what they're doing -- they just do it over and over again. It's great background music. It would be nice at a bar while having a few beers. But they can basically be summed up with three genres: psych-pop, country-rock, and paisley underground. They write "small" songs, for lack of a better term, straight out of 1969, with seemingly no intention of producing anything revelatory. While taking my notes, I found myself using the words "nice" and "pleasant" on a frequent basis. If the Volebeats were willing to take more chances, to branch out and expand their sound, I am confident they could produce something fabulous. As they're capable of exceptional melodies and terrific vocal harmonies, I can't fault them much -- those are two of the most important things in conventional songwriting. Highlighting particular songs, some bad, some downright amazing, is just irrelevant. If you like melodic pop/rock with modern tinges of recent Teenage Fanclub and retro hints of Neil Young, with a bit of the in-between, like the Rain Parade, stuck in, this is for you. It's nice. It's pleasant.