The Rockfords

The Rockfords

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Rock & roll is so lacking at the turn of the millennium in women who sing their hearts out first and wear their hearts and politics on their sleeves second, that any earnest effort is a welcome earful of fresh sound. Such is the compelling, if uneven, collaborative effort The Rockfords, from the Rockfords, an assemblage of longtime Seattle underground favorites Goodness (consisting of vocalist Carrie Akre, drummer Chris Friel, guitarist Danny Newcomb), bassist Rick Friel, and Pearl Jam guitarist Mike McCready. Led by Akre's deep church bell of a voice, the album offers a pleasant mix and match of mutated straight-up rock rooted in Seattle sound. McCready's chiming, cascading guitars create an intriguing undercurrent for Akre's voice and lift up otherwise average cuts "Distress" and "Spiral." Besides contributing to the writing of almost every song, the rest of the band provides a lively energy lacking in most rock records today. The Rockfords also get the blessing and guest appearance from one of the godmothers of Seattle rock, Nancy Wilson of Heart, who wrote "Riverwide" with Mike McCready and sings on the track. Midtempo rockers cover very familiar territory, especially the uncanny Pat Benatar homage "This Life." This is not necessarily a bad thing for Akre, who isn't afraid to let earnestness and vulnerability show. The best songs are the ones that stray away from garage rock simplicity. The Southern-fried singalong "Adelaide" boasts an irresistible chorus and a loose and sexy delivery from Akre, as does the psychedelic funk rocker "Flashes." The sweet piece of punk pie "Sureshot" gets in your face with a buzz tornado of guitars, smacking sticks, and Akre's acrid delivery.

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