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    Soledad Brothers:

    Voice of Treason

    Tue, 26 Oct 2004 13:42:25

    Album Reviews: Voice of Treason by Soledad Brothers

    The Soledad Brothers have a history that is inextricably linked to their Detroit cohorts The White Stripes, and the Soledad sound is about what you’d expect from a band that began recording in Jack White’s living room. Borrowing liberally from the Stones and the Velvets - as well as most of the requisite blues icons - Voice of Treason is an engaging roadhouse stomp that makes for a mean soundtrack to either a night of excess or a night out on the open road. Frontman Johnny Walker puts a likeable strut into his singing, and he has enough charisma to be convincing even when the music isn’t doing much to support him. The album gets off to an inauspicious start with three by-the-book barroom rockers that, while enjoyable, could be the work of a thousand other bands.

    From there, though, Voice of Treason quickly improves. Perhaps surprisingly, Walker and his bandmates are most effective when they abandon the chug-a-lug riffs and harmonies that propelled the “garage-blues-rock” hybrid into the mainstream. “Sons of Dogs” is stripped-down and shrouded in mystery, with Walker showing off his higher register while a lone drum thumps quietly in the background. “Sights Unseen” is a thick psychedelic stew, while “Only Flower In My Bed” is an impassioned slow-burner with horns and a hazy organ. It’s variety like this that raises the Soledad Brothers above the mire of the garage-rock revival. - Adam McKibbin

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