The Obsoletes

Is This Progress?

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Angling to be the less inebriated successors to the Replacements in the loose-limbed Midwest rock stakes, this Wisconsin trio has the chops and attitude to take on the crown. Former Yesterday's Kids members Justin Perkins and Tim Schweiger form a strong core, while drummer Jon Phillip offers a driving foundation. They start off perfectly with the raucous but melodic "Empty Sidewalk" (with its "Burnin' Love" quote) and channel Paul Westerberg on "Sad State of Affairs," and in fact cover the 'Mats on the obscure "P.O. Box." On "The Other Side of America," they turn rootsy, while "Little Gurl" takes them close to the Railroad Earth twisted blues territory. That said, they're still very much a work in progress, and some of the songs, like "Down to Milwaukee," remain relatively anonymous. But you get the feeling there's enough happening here for them to grow into the band's identity and style, and refine their craft. "You've Got It All," for example, is a fine rocker that bodes well for the future, as does the reflective, countrified "The Town That You Grew Up In." The Midwest has been waiting for a new rock band. Maybe it has finally found one.

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