Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Brent Amaker & the Rodeo: "Year Of The Dragon" (album review)

Brent Amaker & the Rodeo have been described as road trip music for people who don't like country music.  That's a fairly accurate assessment of their latest record, Year Of The Dragon, which often has more indie rock than twang to it.

The album, which comes out on June 4th, is dominated by Amaker's deep baritone vocals.  His deadpan delivery makes him sound as though someone has surgically removed Mark Lanegan's soul.  It's an original sound, but one that seems at odds with the entire road trip music concept (despite the CB radio effects on "The Tiger Inside").

An organ is employed on several songs.  It delivers an eerie B-Movie score type of whir on "What's Wrong With You" and "Captain Of the Ship".  Unlike most alcohol-referencing tunes, "Tequila Cerveza" lacks that party atmosphere and thus comes across as flat and lacking.

There are definitely some road-worthy moments on Year Of The Dragon.  Both "Counry Sky" and "One Idea" have that engine-revving feel.  "I Put My Boots On" kicks up the most dust of any track on the record. The standout, however, is the mostly-instrumental rockabilly-inspired roller "Time To Set Things Straight".

Brent Amaker & the Rodeo may very well be road trip music for those who don't like country, but those who do like country will find it a tad disappointing.

Best tracks: "Time To Set Things Straight", "I Put My Boots On"

Track listing for Year Of The Dragon:
  • The Tiger Inside
  • Country Sky
  • Captain of the Ship
  • I Put My Boots On
  • Time to Set Things Straight
  • One Idea
  • Suitcase
  • What's Wrong With You
  • Tequila Cerveza
  • Footsteps Lead the Way
  • Hustler

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