Dumptruck

For the Country

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It's the classic rock & roll story: a talented and scrappy band gradually emerges from a fertile local scene, gets its act thoroughly together over the course of three steadily improving albums, and just as it's ready to make its mark on the wider world, it falls apart. Dumptruck's third album, For the Country, was its last; the core duo of Seth Tiven and Kirk Swan had split up with Swan's departure, and legal troubles would sink the band for good shortly after the album's release. There are harbingers of doom in Tiven's downcast lyrics, but these are his strongest and most well-crafted songs yet; "Island," the faintly Memphis-flavored "Hung Out on a Line," and the country-rock jangle of "Wire" all pack a serious wallop, and the band manages to make good use of Welsh producer Hugh Jones' state-of-the-art studio without coming across as slick or overprocessed. The occasional touches of Hammond organ and pedal steel guitar (that's the legendary B.J. Cole on steel, by the way) give Dumptruck's sound just the right added dimension on songs like "Wire," "Island," and the fine title track. As is the case with most bands that have followed Dumptruck's trajectory, the last album is the best place to start; then work backward to D Is for Dumptruck. Highly recommended.

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