Mike Plume Band

Fools for the Radio

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Preaching the goodness of often underrated singer/songwriters and radio's inability to see the light in "Steel Belted Radio," Mike Plume doesn't mince words or music in his collection of rock, country, and roots collage. Whether it's the hard rock and blues feeling in "Climbing the Walls," "Sensitive Guy," or the roots rock along the lines of Steve Earle's "Now She's Gone" during "She's Still Everything to Me." Driven by harmonica and a country-like rhythm section, it's one of the higher points on an extremely polished and strong first third of the album. Venturing into a more bombastic, elongated song such as "Fly in the Ointment" doesn't do the band justice, but, fortunately, they return with a wistful performance on the standout "DiMaggio." The song's strength lies in its spaciousness between verses, resulting in a Daniel Lanois production feeling. Some mellower pop moments are few and far between, thanks to fine singalong-inducing choruses and handclaps on "Dreamer." The album as a whole never diminishes in its performance or material, seemingly only to become stronger and stronger. Closing with "Eggshells (New Day)," a tune similar to Tom Petty's "Swinging," is an excellent finale. An album that perhaps could ruin your compact disc's lens from repeated listens.

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