The Bacon Brothers

White Knuckles

  • AllMusic Rating
    7
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

AllMusic Review by

Michael and Kevin Bacon have been quietly building the kind of quality catalog that evades most celebrity-driven (initially, at least) musical acts. The brothers' sometimes moody, always engaging, and often surprising blend of roots rock, alternative country, and blue-collar heartbreak has grown leaps and bounds since their 1997 debut, often eclipsing more mainstream artists who don't carry the stigma of a career in Hollywood. White Knuckles, their fifth record and first for the SpinArt label, falls somewhere between the atmospheric folk-pop of the Pernice Brothers and the Eagles. For the most part, the Bacon Brothers execute musical and lyrical clich├ęs so well that it's almost groundbreaking. 1970s arena rock jams like "Good News" and "Swing Low" are accessible to a fault, but likeable enough to cause a tremor in the listener's foot that will lead them from the barstool to the dancefloor. They catch some glow from some of the more thoughtful numbers like "Flowers," a heartbreaking ballad of missed opportunity with some magnificent and surprising key changes -- both that song and "Tuesday" are rife with the bombastic balladry of Pacific Ocean Blue-era Dennis Wilson. "What Am I Gonna Do" stealthily navigates the not-so-murky waters between Motown and modern rock, while the djembe-led "Coffins and Cradles" echoes Harry Chapin and James Taylor -- even a mandolin-heavy rendering of the George Harrison-penned Beatles classic "If I Needed Someone," complete with Fragile-era Yes harmonies -- is infectious. The Bacon Brothers may have had an easier window into their rock star dreams than most, but they're not content to just stand there and look cool with guitars; they came to play.

blue highlight denotes track pick