07 June, 2008

Album Review - The Booze's "Straight, No Chaser!"

Digital Release Date: April 13, 2008
CD Release Date: May 24, 2008
Label: 3 Kings
No. of Tracks: 12

Some indie rock bands push the envelope of music, and some are just trying to recreate the sounds of a long gone era of feel good tunes and simple melodies. Atlanta's The Booze fall into the latter category. Sporting a sound very similar to but much more melodic than fellow Atlantans The Black Lips, the band has crafted a nice blend of soul, blues, country, and '60s-era pop rock. Borrowing heavily from influences ranging from the Stones to Howlin' Wolf to The Temptations, the band does manage to reamin modern and relevant in this growing trend of bands who look to the past for direct inspiration as the title of their 2007 debut album, Easy Beats in Modern Time, indicates.

Straight, No Chaser finds the band still driving a Ford Fairlane in second gear down a dusty country road. There are handclaps, sha-la-la backing vocals, and bursts of high-pitched organ a plenty to go along with the lazy beats and surfy blues guitar. The album's production takes full advantage of every trick there is to take a modern recording and transport it back to 1963. The vocals are overamplified with little effort made to restore clarity to the vocals. The guitars are underamplified with most of the treble taken away, and the bass is barely noticeable in most songs. In other words, the album plays like a vinyl record in both digital form and on CD.

The songs have a tendency to blend together as the album unfolds. The focus is clearly more on making fun music than an engaging album that keeps the listener filled with anticipation from one track to another. But it is very fun and effective as a period contemplation. In step with the music, the lyrical content lacks depth and follows a formulaic pop progression with a blues twist. All songs light-heartedly deal with unrequited love, stalking the object of a crush, or pleading with a girl to stay. To my ears, there isn't much sincerity behind what the band does. What this band does do is focus on making sure that at least the music is clean and well structured. To get a good idea of what I mean, visit their MySpace page at http://www.myspace.com/thebooze and listen to "Hey Amy (I Haven't Got the Blues Today)" and "Callin' Out To You". If you like those tunes, then you can look forward to hearing "Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)", "Trouble in Paradise", and "Can't Stand Losing You" on the record.

This album is a fine compliment to any summer soundtrack for barbecues and pool parties. But if you're looking for an intriguing headphones record, this is far from what you are desiring. I have not been able to see this band perform yet, but I imagine their live set is a fun time for all. If you are interested in seeing them in person, the band is currently on a coast-to-coast tour until June 27th. They will be returning to Atlanta to play a Fourth of July set at The Star Community Bar in Little Five Points.

Overall Album Rating: 2.0

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