Fleur de Lis

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Canadian/Minnesotan country punk rock is about as specific a genre as they come. So specific, in fact, that there seems to be only one exemplar of it -- St Paul's Convoy! Distorted guitars mingle nicely with gentle organs, as Fleur de Lis recalls both the pantheon of album-oriented, classic rock heroes and the vaunted upstarts of indie rock. Sometimes, in his attempts to carve out his niche in the near-impenetrable, monolithic tradition of country music, frontman Noah Slater gets a little lost. However, he does successfully turn an initially shaky cover of Hank Williams' "Lonesome Whistle Blow" into a great punk dirge. While the rock songs on Fleur de Lis are inspiring and do indeed rock, Convoy!'s best moments come with Slater's tearjerker originals, like the wonderful "One City, Two Lives" and the rambling "Walk in the Light," both of which find the frontman confused, restless, and lonely. At its core, Fleur de Lis is a lonesome affair, and the longing present throughout the record is evidenced definitively in the climactic, solitary-man epic "I Fall Alone." Although Slater sometimes forces himself into places where he doesn't seem comfortable ("Memphis"), Convoy! always sound tight; neither their sincerity nor their ability are ever in question.

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