Walkie Talkie

School Yard Rhymes

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While most slightly confused '70s revivalists lovingly revisit the cheesy big-white-lapel era, Walkie Talkie evokes the B-side, stone-soul promontory and hard rock strata of the earlier, harder-core section of the decade. These singing, rhythmic new kids already have the old licks down-sounding, thanks much in part to the generous presence of vintage guitarist Mick Taylor sitting in and showing everybody how it's done. Frontman Jim Lacey Baker's semi-countrified pop-bluesy ditties feel expansive without losing their elasticity, which is a blessing and treat and kind of a musical education for us all, while he's at it. Choice cut "Country Life" is a tumultuously textured slide-guitar high school prom in the spirit of ultrahip Grandpop Johnny Winter's "Good Love." "When the Blackbird Sings" frees up the vibe early on in a thrilling and relentless gesture of hats-off to tradition as well as new-kid ultraspunk, and this happy sensation is never shaken throughout the entire record. Baker makes no bones about the presences of angels on his shoulders, riding up there we hear whispers and hucks from Derek & the Dominoes, Graham Parker, the Rolling Stones and many others -- but these are the same angels riding on our own shoulders, so the effect is one of cacophonous, harmonious gathering. A fine, fun record.

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