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Buckshot Review

by Mark Deming

If Buckshot stylistically picks up where the Riptones left off with their previous album, Cowboy's Inn, it also finds the band refining their formula for the better. While the album favors the leaner sound that the three-piece edition of the Riptones brought to Cowboy's Inn, the addition of Michael Krasovech on lead guitar gives the arrangements some needed spark while letting frontman Jeb Bonansinga put his full attention on his vocals, which is where his greatest strength lies. But even though the band sounds fuller in this incarnation, the production still sounds tight and uncluttered, with a lean and muscular approach that fits the songs like a glove. And unlike most roots rockers who can't find much to sing about except cars 'n' girls, Bonansinga manages to write cool songs about radioactive fallout ("Rebel Rock Armageddon"), getting your life in order ("Get Me a Job"), and struggling to make it through an economic downturn ("Getting By"); it's rare to hear a rockabilly-influenced band actually deal with real life problems in their songs, and Bonansinga pulls it off pretty well. While the album falls a bit short on capturing this band at their best, Buckshot makes it clear the Riptones do what they do very well indeed, and anyone who finds their mixture interesting should enjoy it.

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