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American Made

BoDeans

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iTunes Review

With the departure of Sam Llanas (half of The BoDeans' core), the band has become, in effect, the Kurt Neumann project. With the exception of Bruce Springsteen's "I'm on Fire" (which here is given a moody, noir read), the songs are all written by Neumann. He's the only original member, with keyboardist Michael Ramos having served on and off over the years. The bluesy "Don't Bring Me Down" and the heartland folk-rocker "Everything You Wanted" can be heard as expressions of Neumann's frustration at his former bandmate, but the group has always been more about modest dreams than interpersonal squabbles. Lesser and greater bands have lost their brotherhood to the road and its trials. The band's pop elements have long been given second chair to a hearty emotionalism that makes songs like "All the World" and "Walk Through This World" favor a soulful strut over a young power-popper's dreams. Michael Ramos' accordion and Warren Hood's fiddle add nice rustic touches.

Customer Reviews

Just not the same...

This is not a Bodeans album, its a Kurt Neumann solo project.. There are no Bodeans without Sam.

Classic roots rock

American Made is the kind of album that's not going to shock anybody, not going to revolutionize anything, and sadly won't graze any "Best of 2012" lists. But shaking up the music industry has never been the BoDeans' intention. For close to 30 years, they've built a career by playing nothing more than melodic, tight, and honest rock 'n roll. And they've managed to package it in just about every form it can come in: an energetic sparse Stray Cats-ish arrangement, epic Bon Jovi-esque arena rock, the earnest cry of U2, 90's acoustic alt-rock, a couple of minimal DIY albums, and finally an Americana record. However, for the first time in a while, Kurt Neumann sounds like he's doing what he's always wanted to do on this record. Rather than attempting to please Llanas and keeping it under budget by self-producing, Neumann collaborated with world-class producer John Alagia to add just the right amount of pop sensibility and make the rhythm section slam. He's also got a super-tight band behind him that allows him to focus more on singing and songwriting. Unfortunately, the songwriting may be the one aspect of this record that suffers a little. While it has a few well-written numbers that stand out such as "Walk Through This World" and "All Over Me" and pure high energy in songs like "Shake The Fever", the rest begin to blend together and sound like he could use a little outside inspiration (e.g. the awkward lyrics in "Chemical" and cookie-cutter melody in "Everything You Wanted"). While everyone gets stuck in a rut occasionally, I feel like he's been doing the same things over and over again for a few years now. Of course, it's important to realize that he's not attempting to write another "Closer to Free" or "Good Things", but maybe he should at least set a goal of trying to match their quality. Regardless, it's sure to be a fan-pleaser and may even be their first record in 16 years to gain them new fans. If nothing else, it's a pleasure to listen to on a drive through the countryside.

Better than last 2.

Better than the last 2 records with Sammy. Release "American" in
time for 4th of July.

Biography

Formed: 1984 in Waukesha, WI

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Formed in 1984 by high school friends Sammy Llanas and Kurt Neumann, the BoDeans mixed Midwestern roots rock with elements of adult contemporary pop, fashioning a sound that earned critical acclaim during the '80s and commercial recognition during the following decade. Llanas and Neumann fronted the group by sharing vocal and guitar duties, while bassist Bob Griffin and drummer Guy Hoffman populated the rhythm section. Although based in Waukesha, Wisconsin, the BoDeans began building an audience...
Full Bio

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