Carolyn Wonderland & the Imperial Monkeys

Play with Matches

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AllMusic Review by

Houston's premier blues-rock belter disappoints on her muddy, uncertain debut, an album full of club-tested numbers that seem to go nowhere without the attendant beer buzz and good-natured biker-hippie vibe Carolyn Wonderland and her Imperial Monkeys exude on-stage. Even so, the loose arrangements give guitarist Eric Dane plenty of space to play, and his slide work is simply liquid throughout Play With Matches. This is a product of Texas, after all, where letting one's hair down on occasion is crucial to survival. So too bad Wonderland's low-register vibrato, accented by the occasional growl-and-yowl combo, tends toward the mannered and stiff -- as if the feisty spirit of Janis Joplin were frozen solid inside the chilly pipes of Melissa Etheridge.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
1 3:19
2 2:58
3 4:13
4 4:12
5 4:16
6 4:00
7 2:49
8 3:30
9 4:21
10 2:41
11 4:29
12 4:04
13 4:06
blue highlight denotes track pick