Swinging Steaks

It can't be easy for the Swinging Steaks to make a living as a country band in a rock 'n' roll college town like Boston. Peers are few and far between, and easy audiences must be even fewer. "Time Stands Still" acknowledges the fact with its hyperbolic opening, "Around here it snows everyday / it's kinda hard to keep the blues away." Maybe that's why the band's twang resembles more of the alt-country of the Old 97's or, hell, the raw gut-check of the even older Rolling Stones than the polished cowboy act of country's new wavers. Slide guitars abound in the album opener "Good Day," and with its snappy back-beat and the band's four singers contributing to full harmonized choruses, the song is as infectious as the title implies. In subtle contrast, "Bad Day," with prominent banjo giving way to chunky guitars, allows the band's darker side to seep through while remaining just as catchy. The broken-hearted crooner tradition makes its way up north into the song "All the Love" which cuts to the core right from the get-go with the revelation, "All the love you never had/it's still hanging 'round to haunt you." Just goes to show that a broken heart is the same no matter where you're from.

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Sander Wolf