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Album Review

Arthur Dodge wants to rekindle a murky, somewhat seedy hybrid of country-rock that has Bob Dylan, the Byrds, and Gram Parsons as its fine jumping-off points. The lovely "Gates" is a midtempo funky track, with Dodge's twang sounding like a haggard version of Golden Smog or the Jayhawks if fronted by Randy Newman. "The pearly gates are mine," he sings before a Southern guitar riff enters the fray. "Creature of the Night" sounds like a paltry Supertramp cover that ambles along in a prog rock manner. "Hustlin' California"'s initial notes bring to mind Billy Joel's "You May Be Right," but then saunter easily into a middle-of-the-road folk-rock track. Think of Tom Petty circa Wildflowers and you would get the idea. This is truer, though, of the pretty but mysterious "Ghost Car." "Hung On" reeks of a dreamy, psychedelic pop oeuvre that earns fine marks thanks to the soul in Dodge's timbre. Straightforward songs, though, are what make the album shine, especially on the roots-like barroom shuffle fueling "Let My Reach Exceed My Grasp," recalling Blue Rodeo. The crowning jewel is the swaying, relaxing "My Baby's in My Town," which is infectious to a fault. The lone cover is "Why Not Your Baby," a gorgeous choice right up Dodge's sonic alley. "Wormhole" is another solid song that rocks out just enough to make it quite memorable, although the slow doo wop style is just as pleasing. "Fell" offers a folksy affair with Ken Pingleton's deft drum brushes. It's a tune that Dodge could do time and again without failing. On the whole, this pleasing roots record would go perfectly on the shelf between your Dylan and Petty albums.

Room #4, Arthur Dodge & The Horsefeathers
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