The Why Store

The Why Store

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The first major-label album by Muncie, IN's, contribution to the '90s proliferation of loose-limbed jam bands follows two well-received indie releases and a couple of stretches on the scene-defining H.O.R.D.E. tour. That the Why Store never broke out of that particular subgenre the way that Blues Traveler or the Spin Doctors is understandable -- they just don't have a pop single equivalent to "Runaround" or "Two Princes" -- but they're certainly not without merit. The Why Store's key attribute is singer/songwriter Chris Shaffer, who has a great deep growly voice -- imagine a much less stiff version of the guy from the Crash Test Dummies -- and a knack for mellow, folk-influenced melodies. The first single, "Lack of Water" (a slightly remixed track from their previous indie release), and the mandolin-flecked "Nobody," which has the best chorus on the album, are the key tracks, but the whole album has a fluid grace. The arrangements, heavy on the acoustic guitars and Hammond B-3 organ, fit the tunes nicely, and although the group has an obvious interplay, they wisely keep the song lengths reasonably brief. The Why Store didn't make much noise commercially, but it's a fine album nonetheless.

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