Scud Mountain Boys

Massachusetts

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In just a short time, the Scud Mountain Boys have risen from relative obscurity (two 1995 albums for indie label Chunk) to a well-earned spot on the Sub Pop roster. The Boys' new album, Massachusetts, is once again a quiet, mostly acoustic collection of soft-spoken songs based around spare country rhythms and laid-back, whisper-light melodies. Massachusetts is more down to earth than the faux-hillbilly ramble poems of Palace Music, but also far less Americana-ized than Son Volt or any of the No Depression hangers-on. The sudden national attention seems not to have spooked the Scuds, and so while Massachusetts feels better crafted than the band's previous two albums -- more mature in terms of songwriting -- it retains the easygoing, kitchen-table spirit that marked the band's earlier work. This is music that moves slowly but grows on you quickly.

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