The Refreshments

A Band's Gotta Do What a Band's Gotta Do

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Since the ‘50s, rock music has branched and morphed beyond recognition, but there always remain bands that carry the torch for Elvis and company. The Refreshments have been doing this for a long while, and the very name of their 2009 offering shows that they aren't quitting their mission any time soon. In this case, what a band's gotta do is to swing through a set of classic rock & roll tracks that sound like Jerry Lee Lewis outtakes -- there's even a tune named "Just Like Jerry Lee," just to show that the group's got nothing to hide. A saxophone makes frequent and welcome appearances, but generally the Refreshments rely on the standard setup of clean guitars, a rhythm section, and some vocals. Joakim Arnell's singing is never close to Elvis, and he's got 20 years on the King in his prime, but an everyman delivery never hurt rock music. On the whole, the band's style leaves no room for surprises, and the album packs none, which makes it a treat for fans of this sound -- you can only subsist for so long on the classics before you start to wish for some new songs in the old getup, and this is exactly what the Refreshments provide. That said, this isn't as reckless as rock & roll can be -- in fact, parts of the album sound downright nostalgic, and that doesn't just go for the ballad "Day by Day." It's simply that the age is showing, particularly in the vocals, which give the songs a country tinge, though not likely intended. These guys still aren't too old to rock & roll, but they also can't hide the fact that by 2009, this is a retro sound, not a musical revolution. To give them their due, they obviously don't care.

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