Eleven Hundred Springs

Bandwagon (Palo Duro)

"Everybody, it don't matter where you come from...we're all just a bunch of longhaired, tattooed, hippie freaks," Matt Hilyer boasts early in Eleven Hundred Springs' latest album, but the attempt to unite all of the world's downtrodden into a white trash stereotype makes Bandwagon's dedication to straightforward, old-fashioned country all the more obvious. Tiny amounts of bluegrass, swing and Buffett-beach pop aren't enough to reach any other category than been-there, done-that country, which might still be good if the lyrics weren't so bland. From the half-assed romance of "If you were a Seeing Eye dog, you'd never leave my sight and help me see," to the frat-boy ode of "Stumble into the liquor store, tryin' hard not to fall, stayin' drunk all the time," the band's dedications to poverty and love come off as baseless and ungrounded, and Hilyer's slow singing lacks both the wisdom of Willie Nelson and the heartbreak of Cory Branan. Only at the album's close do the boys cut loose with "The Rock Island Line," as the band charges the song with a train wreck of power and Hilyer finally unleashes his hell-yeah howl. Otherwise, the band's numerous name checks to country legends merely remind listeners how little the band is willing to stray from the standards.

 
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