Rusted Root

Stereo Rodeo

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Stereo Rodeo is Rusted Root's first studio album in seven years -- a long stretch of time by any measure but especially long for a group who at its heart is a working band, earning its audience by constant performances. Constant performances should lead to regular recordings, but not for Rusted Root in the new millennium, who released not a single collection of new material since the attempted pop crossover of 2002's Welcome to My Party. Stereo Rodeo has elements of that shiny gloss, but there's a heavy emphasis on their elastic worldbeat grooves which, more than ever, seem indebted to latter-day Talking Heads, only minus the esoteric egghead bent. Rusted Root still lean toward crowd-pleasing jams -- clearly evident on their slow take of Elvis' "Suspicious Minds," but also on their lengthy groove-oriented cuts where mood supersedes hooks, something that is a bit of a Rusted Root trademark. So in that sense, Stereo Rodeo could be seen as a correction or a tacit apology for the pop inclinations of Welcome to My Party, a way to get the band back to their roots without drawing attention to any machinations that get them there.

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