Blessed Devils

Blessed Devils

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A potentially swinging mix of rockabilly and Bakersfield-style honky tonk (one song, a six-minute rocker that sounds like the Blasters with special guest star Buck Owens, is even called "Blowout In Bakersfield"), the Blessed Devils' self-titled debut rarely works up a sweat. Even potential-barnburner titles like "Good Girl Gone Bad" and "Rockabilly Betty" are attached to songs that are just a little too reined-in and cool for their own good. Singer/songwriter and all-around mastermind Doug Phillips clearly has a feeling for these styles of music, but the overall feel of this album is closer to the sort of albums John Hiatt and Nick Lowe were doing in the mid-to-late '80s; rocking out seems to be almost beside the point. There are some good-to-great songs here, with the admirably concise "Bomb Bomb Baby" topping the list, but too many of what should be three-minute rockers creep up past the four- and even five-minute mark for no good reason. There's a terrific album in here somewhere, but Blessed Devils is finally kind of disappointing.

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