Sonoran Hope & Madness

Roger Clyne / Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers

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Sonoran Hope & Madness Review

by Richie Unterberger

Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers serve up another slab of American roots rock on this record, using country, Tex-Mex, and blues to spice what's essentially a straight-ahead American rock base. Looked at in its most positive light, this is an earnest and heartfelt album played with tight conviction. Looked at in its cruelest light, it's the kind of overwrought Americana that's heartlessly yet accurately lampooned by some comic commercials on overseas cable channels. There's really too much of a Southwestern flavor to the music to put it in the heart of the heartland. But it is a bit like hearing Tom Petty, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, John Mellencamp, and the like distilled and polished with a blast of desert wind and Arizona guitar twang. Clyne and his gang are better when they accent the softer border music ingredients than when they go for ballsy rock & roll, which is when their game gets too blustery. Songs with a little storytelling flair and delicate Tex-Mex accents, like the breezily gorgeous "Better Beautiful Than Perfect" and "The Ballad of Lupe Montosa," show Clyne to his best advantage; the instrumental snatch of "Home on the Range" is just gratuitous Americana, though.

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