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We Watched the Headlights; We Watched the Stars

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Album Review

One of the most prevalent musical subgenres of the late '80s, roots rock hasn't really been the same ever since Uncle Tupelo and their followers made alt-country the twangy place to be. The first full-length album by San Antonio quartet Archer Avenue, We Watched the Headlights; We Watched the Stars is pure roots rock in its original sense, along the lines of Green on Red and some of the Replacements' later material. The emphasis is on the "rock" half of the equation, but there's an unstudied, lived-in rootsiness to Jack Bonner's shaggy vocals and Marc Sauceda's casually countrified guitar leads. Producer Pete Anderson (Dwight Yoakam, etc.) simply provides a live, uncluttered sound for the direct, rocking tunes, and the band responds with some true winners: the opening "Cops Don't Care" is an instant classic of frustrated youthful urges, while "Breakdown on N. St. Mary's" adds a two-step rhythm and steel guitar accents to an unexpectedly gritty rocker. We Watched the Headlights; We Watched the Stars is a solid, entertaining slice of good old-fashioned Texas rock & roll that bodes well for Archer Avenue's future.

We Watched the Headlights; We Watched the Stars, Archer Avenue
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