The Kerosene Brothers

Choose Your Own Title*

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The Kerosene Brothers advertise themselves as "a fusion of American roots, bluegrass and rock," which is true, though it doesn't account for the group's warped sense of humor and bombastic approach to tradition. Originals like "Mr. Wrong" and "Last Call" are odes to drinking too much and going home with the honky tonk special on the next bar stool. Some will find these tracks amusing, others, only sophomoric. The traditional material, however, is even more problematic. The lead track,"Ellie Schaffer," is no more than a rewrite of "Ellen Smith" with a noisy arrangement, while the group's British-meets-American folk-rock rendition of "Shady Grove" sounds like Fairport Convention on a bad night. "In the Pines" is even more pompous, a cross between Bill Monroe and Nirvana. Like the Tarbox Ramblers, the Kerosene Brothers enjoy adding rock elements to worn-out songs that are usually played on acoustic instruments, but while the Ramblers seem to find their own style, the Kerosene Brothers rely on overripe arrangements that give the impression of a rock band playing traditional music just for the heck of it. They also rely on overly familiar material like "Further Along," which further bogs down the project. With lukewarm performances and overly heavy production, Choose Your Own Title* has the same imagination as its title.

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