The Rave-Ups

Town & Country

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The Rave-Ups were one of a handful of bands that were mixing up punk rock energy and country twang during the '80s, years before anyone had dared utter the word alt-country. What set the Rave-Ups apart from such peers as Rank and File and the Long Ryders was their willingness to wear their cheerfully snotty attitude on their sleeve. For many like-minded bands, the country side of their personality included a commitment to sincerity and idealism, but Rave-Ups leader Jimmer Podrasky was the sort of guy who would cover Bob Dylan's "You Ain't Goin' Nowhere" and mess with the lyrics, as if he either didn't remember them or couldn't be bothered to learn them in the first place. Podrasky also had enough attitude to begin "Positively Lost Me," a heartfelt study of a romance gone bust, with the words "You lost a lot when you lost me," and make both his hurt and his arrogance connect. The Rave-Ups had a lot more than sneer and swagger to offer on their first album, 1985's Town & Country, especially when they turned down the amps and the tempo on numbers like the bittersweet "Class Tramp," the evocative "Radio," and the darkly introspective "Better World," though it does take some nerve to write a line like "If God is dead, then who took over?" The Rave-Ups also showed a keen sense of fun on Town & Country, especially in their tribute to a beloved bad car ("In My Gremlin") and celebrating life in Los Angeles ("Not Where You're At [But Where You Will Be]"). And Podrasky had the good fortune to have a tight, spunky band to put his songs across, and guitarist Terry Wilson, bassist Tommy Blatnik, and drummer Timothy J. give these songs plenty of muscle and snap. While they clearly liked country music for its passion, songcraft, and iconography, the Rave-Ups were a real rock & roll band in all the ways that mattered, and Town & Country's tough talk and beating heart shine through throughout.

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