J. Roddy Walston and the Business

Essential Tremors

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AllMusic Review by

J. Roddy Walston & the Business are a tough band to pin down, with a sound that is both familiar and then something else again: a mix of Southern rock, and Jerry Lee Lewis with some Big Star tossed in, a whole lot of Led Zeppelin stomp, a Creedence Clearwater Revival kind of bounce to everything, maybe some Motown soul, too, and yet, this is a band that assimilates all of this with ease, and truthfully, it works more often than it doesn't. Essential Tremors (the title refers to a nervous-system disorder that affects main singer and songwriter J. Roddy Walston and causes his hands to shake on occasion) is the band's third full-length, and it is a wonderfully rocking and varied affair, full of sturdy riffs, thundering drums, smart lyrics, surprising harmonies, and atmospherics, and actually comes close to capturing the crackling energy of the band's legendary live shows. There's plenty to like here, including the first single "Heavy Bells," which rises into a shrieking, blistering chorus, the classic rock-sounding "Take It as It Come," the high vocals and Led Zeppelin kinetics of "Black Light," the Big Star-like ballad "Nobody Knows," the beautiful and wise "Boys Can Never Tell" (complete with pedal steel guitar from Jeremy Long), and the R&B feel of the set-closer "Midnight Cry." It's a fine outing from a versatile band that knows what they do best, and man, they can rock.

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