The Paladins

Palvoline No. 7

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As the title indicates, this is the San Diego-based roots rockers' seventh release (on six different labels), and for better or worse, little has changed in the group's MO over the years. Gloriously impervious to trends, the three-piece led by Dave Gonzales' yearning, scruffy vocals and slashing guitar, the Paladins, churn out another potent mix of boozy rockabilly, country, and blues which makes an adequate keepsake of their legendary, sweaty live shows. At only 12 relatively short songs, the album doesn't spend a lot of time on anything, ripping through surf, country, and '50s rocking with the authority of a band who know themselves intimately and are doggedly intent on following their own direction. While that's admirable-- as is the disc's practically mono mix-- the songs don't connect as anything other than rewritten homages to their obvious influences and workingman origins. The Wood Brothers' "Alcohol of Fame," Jerry Reed's "You Make It, They Take It," and their own "Hot-Rod-Rockin" sum up the Paladins' rugged approach. Their dive into the Ventures' surf waves on "Powershake" is an example of the band respecting their roots, yet not adding much originality to them. Although seven of the tracks are originals, they sound like covers, which would certainly be considered a compliment by the band. Guest piano and pedal steel flesh out the sound, but the disc still seems tinny and compressed. That might be their intent, though, as it adds yet another angle of authenticity, as if you're hearing this on a '60s portable radio at the beach. The closing '60s ballad "Just a Matter of Time" is a fine coda to an adequate representation of the Paladins, a tirelessly touring band who can probably record energetic but run-of-the-mill bar band albums like this in their alcohol-soaked sleep.

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