Playlist: The Backsliders

From Dallas, Texas (Self-released)

THe BAcksliders have rightfully garnered a reputation in North Texas as a band that righteously rocks. And on their latest record, the Bonner-intensive group (Kim fronts the band, her husband Chris plays guitar, his brother Jason plays bass) manages to continue rocking, even if they seem to be holding back a bit.

Sonically diverse, the new record shares more of a musical kinship with the band's 2006 self-titled effort than it does with their ballsy, blistering 2009 album, Thank You. Ultimately, that's all fine and well: Kim's vocal performance here is as engaging as ever. But while her gritty snarl of a vocal should be what Urban Dictionary uses as its example for "sexy rocker voice," the relative musical restraint in a tune such as "I Don't Even Want to Talk to You" undermines her gift instead of highlighting it.

In another sense, though, the choice to not turn every cut into an amp-blaster is a refreshing one. This self-assured veteran group is deservedly secure in their abilities. And, indeed, that security is the very reason that this tight collection is a legitimate rock record, and not merely a loud one.

 
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