Ingram Hill

Cold in California

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Ingram Hill showed once again that as modern rock grew louder and angrier, alternative fans preferred a dose of Memphis-influenced roots rock. Where Tom Petty or Counting Crows would infuse their sound with a folksy earthiness, electric guitars still reign for Justin Moore and company. Moore continued to walk the line between post-grunge and Americana by effortlessly crafting personable tales of love gone wrong. Call it clear hindsight, but Moore details former relationships in a healthier, less brooding manner than on June's Picture Show. That's why "Finish What We Started" and "I Hear Goodnight" come off as shimmering pop nuggets rather than stale, jaded attacks. The rest of the album, from the confessional "Four Letter Word" to the tongue-in-cheek "Impossible," shines with glittering guitar work that would please the trailblazers of post-'90s alternative rock (think Cracker, Wilco, Tonic, Matchbox Twenty). The highlight is the title track, a Southern rock ode taken directly from the songbook of the Black Crowes or Sister Hazel. Without major steps in any one direction, Cold in California makes you wonder why more bands don't craft this type of music.

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