Eli Young Band

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Fingerprints Review

by Stephen Thomas Erlewine

The Eli Young Band touted 2017's Fingerprints, their fourth major-label album, as a return to their roots, a tacit acknowledgment that 2014's 10,000 Towns may have veered a little too close to the country-pop mainstream. While the Eli Young Band don't eschew melody on Fingerprints by any means, they do kick up the Red Dirt country that they stomped down last time around. This means that the record is proud of its swagger, something that's evident from the strutting title track and the propulsive "Once," but the group strengthens its slower numbers by emphasizing a delicate touch instead of sticky sentiment. "Skin & Bones" and "God Love the Rain" are sweet, gentle songs that provide a nice contrast to the album's livelier moments, and this highlights the true strength of Fingerprints. By stripping away some of the gloss, it's easier to hear how the Eli Young Band have both melodic muscle and musical variety.

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