Truth & Salvage Co.

Pick Me Up

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Judging by "The Bad Times," the opening track on Truth & Salvage Co.'s second album, Pick Me Up, the roots rockers have no quarrel with once again being compared with the Band. The piano might be as much Nicky Hopkins as Richard Manuel but the harmonies push it toward the Band, and it's not the only time the group deliberately evokes the ghost of the '60s here, not when "Pick Me Up" essentially mimics the opening attack of "Like a Rolling Stone." Other classic rock echoes can be heard here -- plenty of Stones and Allmans, which means it can sometimes sound like their benefactor/ex-producer Chris Robinson's band Black Crowes as well -- but there are two new wrinkles that distinguish Pick Me Up from its predecessor. First, they've incorporated a heavy dose of Tex-Mex in the vein of Doug Sahm ("Middle Island Creek" and "So Sad" both flirt with the two-step rocking that Sir Douglas Quintet did so well), a surprise that is mitigated by the other, perhaps savvier, move of trying to sound a little more commercial, modern, and jammy. These songs -- including the beach-ready "Island," steady-rolling "Shady River," and festival-pleasing anthem "Back in Your Love" -- are all well executed but, when combined with those throwbacks to a rustic '60s and a fine but incongruous cover of Joe South's "Games People Play," Pick Me Up winds up feeling a little scattershot, the work of a band that can do a bunch of things well but has yet to hone it into a distinctive voice on record.

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