The Rounders kick off their new album, Wish I Had You,
with the blues shaker "God Knows I'm Trying". Things don't
stray too far from this formula for the next forty-nine minutes. Despite
calling Oklahoma City their home, the album has a New Orleans, laid-back,
country blues flavor to it. Brian Whitten's vocals have the
crunch of being recorded on a vintage ribbon microphone and there's
a raw, analogue quality to all the tracks.
This is the third effort from the quintet and it's not very far off
from the North Mississippi Allstars' Shake Hands With Shorty;
w ith strong vocals set back and surrounded by fuzzed out, dirty electric
guitars. "My Getaway" features some electric guitar duels
that pick things up nicely with some smooth slide guitar. On "You
Know Better Than That", the fuzzy guitars and crunchy vocals
make way for a clean, country melody. Although the solos aren't typically
flashy, the constant telecaster plucking is crisp throughout. The
Rounders continue to pick things up five tracks in with "Through
No Fault Of My Own" which brings in a smoking harmonica and a
powerful, kickass chorus. Also meshed in between the swampy blues
rock is "Oh, My Dear Mind", a catchy country song with Whitten's
vocals way up front.
The only minor annoyance I found was that many of the album's songs
have brief instrumental breaks that could benefit from occasional
solos or at least a little chord flare to prevent them from chugging
along and sounding a little jammy. The guitar work of Michael Stone
and Ryan Taylor is excellent, but their moments in the spotlight
are few and far between.
The Rounders are undeniably proficient in pop, country, and especially,
blues. The songs on this album are scattered nicely throughout to
give some variety and keep you attentive.
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