John Butler Trio

April Uprising

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The John Butler Trio, Australia’s biggest contribution to the jam band movement, gets a serious makeover on 2010's April Uprising. Butler dissolved the previous lineup one year before this album’s release, hoping to keep things fresh with a change in personnel. Newcomers Byron Luiters and Nicky Bomba (Butler’s brother-in-law) make their debut here, and the band further reinvents itself by sticking closer to the alt-rock camp than ever before, with Butler trading his fingerplucked guitar arpeggios for electric riffs and power chords. He’s not entirely done with the genres that fueled his earlier albums -- reggae, folk, pop, and acoustic soul chief among them -- and songs like “Don’t Wanna See Your Face” are familiarly funky, with grooves specifically designed for the festival crowds that sustain the John Butler Trio every summer. Even so, April Uprising signals a change in direction, with a newfound emphasis on rock textures and political lyrics (“Sometimes I do wonder how we do sleep/Serving the dodgy companies we keep”) that make the band sound like a flashier, Aussie equivalent of State Radio.

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