The Gigantics

Angel Talk

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From the Byrds to Steve Earle, it is always interesting to hear a rock band fully and warmly embrace its country-rock heritage, which is clearly the case with the Gigantics' release Angel Talk. Wholeheartedly leaping into honky tonk, whiskey ballads, and some of the basic elements of Western swing, the band stomps and struts its way through nine tracks of pure hayseed boogie, but always with a nod to solid rock drumming and throaty yowls, keeping the sound slyly contemporary. From the rave-up "Misery" to the charming duet with Sue Gillis "If I Hold Onto You," the whole album is a warm, summery ode to small-town barrooms and dusty lost loves. The band shows its true rock & roll colors on the ninth track, "Say It's Alright," which could've easily appeared on Tom Petty's Damn the Torpedoes, and is followed by an unlisted track dropping back into forlorn despair on an acoustic six-string. The vocals are a little reverb-heavy, which is a shame since studio reverb is often used to aid weak vocalists, and lead singer Mark Neff has a strong, brash voice that doesn't need any studio tricks. The whole album burns through in less than a half-hour, ticking off influences ranging from BR5-49 to Elvis Costello and eager nods to the Jayhawks and Uncle Tupelo, making for an engaging addition to any alt-country collection.

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