Good to Be Gone

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The chameleonic SoulHat (connection to Foghat unknown) comes off with talent to spare, but also as a publicist's nightmare, flying off in myriad directions with songs too long and wild for radio programmers. If the quartet ever had a chance for mainstream success, the convoluted mid-'90s music atmosphere might have been the best time, and Good to Be Gone stands as a strong commercial effort, reining in loose-fingered jams and Zappa-esque lyrical imagery to the point of accessibility. Producers Brendan O'Brien and Nick Didia worked with Pearl Jam and Stone Temple Pilots and curtail the band's powerful personality into an eminently radio-ready record. Good to Be Gone remains confusing, but supplies a fun ride with bits of Primus oddness here and a bit of Eric Johnson finesse there. Many songs concern the Big Apple from a Texas point of view, including airwave stomper "Bonecrusher" (bones appear to be another motif). Guiding light Kevin McKinney may be making his big move, but the whole band rocks with a tightness that could only come from night after night of playing together. For listeners willing to invest a bit of time, Good to Be Gone will come together after a few listens.

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