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Album Review

After the musical and commercial disappointment of Guadalcanal Diary's second album, the overcooked and overproduced Jamboree, the band took a simultaneous step back and leap forward on their third long-player, 1987's 2x4. 2x4 found the band working once again with producer Don Dixon, who had captured their mingled punch and jangle on their debut, 1984's Walking in the Shadow of the Big Man, and the happy irony was that Dixon was able to give the band the tougher and more detailed sound they failed to get on Jamboree. At the same time, Guadalcanal Diary rose to the occasion with a batch of songs that merited Dixon's more muscular treatment; 2x4 isn't short on pop smarts, but Murray Attaway and Jeff Walls put a lot more weight behind their guitars on this set, and bassist Rhett Crowe and drummer John Poe weren't afraid to keep up with their wall of sound. "Things Fall Apart" and "Litany (Life Goes On)" proved Guadalcanal Diary could have their cake and eat it too, holding on to the obtuse Southern accents of their earlier work while introducing plenty of Big Rock swagger to the mix, as "Little Birds" and "3 a.m." offered reassurance that the band still knew how to turn down their amps when circumstances demanded. If Guadalcanal Diary succumbed to the stereotypical sophomore slump with Jamboree, they managed a far stronger third-inning rebound than the majority of their peers on 2x4, which sounds like the group's strongest and most confident album.

Biography

Formed: 1981

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

While frequently lumped in with such Southern alternative pop bands as R.E.M. and Let's Active, Guadalcanal Diary was distinctly different from its peers, with a sound that was at once melodic and rhythmically aggressive, and a decidedly literary and spiritual bent to the group's lyrics. And at a time when Athens, Georgia, was being hailed as the new center of the smart-pop universe, Guadalcanal Diary hailed...
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2X4, Guadalcanal Diary
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