Monday, July 12, 2010

Reckless Kelly: Under the Table and Above the Sun (2003)

(As published in the Times of Acadiana ... )

Reckless Kelly
Under the Table and Above the Sun
(Sugar Hill)

If ever an act were tailor-made for the “No Depression” (alt-country, Triple-A) format, this Oregon-gone-Austin quintet is it. Early-morning vocals drawling southward, heartland harmonies meshing heavenward, mandolins and twelve-string guitars constituting the musical equivalent of sepia tones for that bygone-era feeling—atmosphere doesn’t come much thicker. But at a time when even the reformed Poco and the 138th incarnation of the Flying Burrito Brothers make sharper albums and still find themselves outmaneuvred by the Jayhawks, one can’t help wondering whether, when all is strummed and done, country-rock-based mood music will turn out to have been any better than the Mantovani-based kind. The liner notes proclaim Reckless Kelly’s songs the “solution” to the “problem” of the “[p]re-teen, pre-packaged, pro-tooled, pretentious, industry-driven, corporate-sponsored, tasteless, soulless, cyborg music that surrounds our lives and crowds our ears,” and maybe they are. Then again, maybe they’d be just as obnoxious as anything on Now That’s What I Call Music! 14 given an equal opportunity to surround and crowd. Rating: Three R. Kellys out of five.

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