The Windbreakers

At Home with Bobby & Tim

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On this release, Bobby Sutliff rejoins Tim Lee after a one-album hiatus from the Windbreakers. Here, the pair turn out a brace of capable songs, some of which refine old styles and others of which explore new ground. Lee's atypical "Closer to Home" is a sparely arranged, acoustic-guitar-dominated, country-influenced song with a very direct, homespun melody. More typical of his older output are "Just Fine," an uptempo rocking song that borrows its chorus from the Eagles' "Already Gone," and "Ill at Ease," a slow-speed number with a definite R.E.M. sound. R.E.M. debts are evident in some of Sutliff's work as well, especially in "Cold, Cold Rain" (which is marred by an overwrought guitar solo) and "I Thought You Knew" (a number than somehow manages to be simultaneously uptempo and anguished). "On the Wire" is a slow-tempo track (rare for Sutliff) that has cut-to-the-chase lyrics such as "For all I care/You can go/Straight to hell." At times, Sutliff strains noticeably to get high notes in the manner of Neil Young on this release, a less-welcome new feature. The album also contains a cover of a decent tune by former True West guitarist Russ Tolman. Sound quality is good if not utterly polished at times. This solid album is worth hearing, especially for fans of this fine band.

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