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Face of My Hometown

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Album Review

Considerably more atmospheric than their contemporaries like the Meat Purveyors and Kelly Willis, the Countrypolitans rely on studio layering and intricate overdubs, and end up sounding a lot like the Cowboy Junkies — if that group took the "Cowboy" part of its name a little more seriously. Beautiful vocalist Elizabeth Ames seems to have grown up absorbing her Pretenders records (which is by no means a bad thing) and her vocal style shows edges of that tough-girl swagger that Chrissie Hynde perfected. Guitarist Justin DeFreece has clearly done the same to the entire early Byrds catalog, and his Rickenbacker chimes and sings along with Ames' croon. While all of these influences are impeccable, the album seems a little too even-toned, and the production is so rich that at times there barely seems room to breathe. The songs are fine and the playing is good, but it almost seems as if the bandmembers are compensating for something they aren't really lacking by filling every space with cymbal wash and guitar reverb, instead of allowing points of rest. The band is rumored to be working with producer Lloyd Maines on an upcoming project, which can only serve to push this already ambitious band into some more interesting territory.

Face of My Hometown, Countrypolitans
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