The Splendors


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This is one of close to a dozen rock bands that have made significant use of the word "splendor" in their names. The Splendors hail from Ithaca, NY, a city so scenically splendid that it is apparently a civic duty to concoct new puns on the words "gorges" and "gorgeous." So perhaps this is the most appropriately named of the splendid bands. At any rate, the band's debut, self-titled CD would indeed make a splendid choice for listeners who like basic hard rock, country-rock, and the bar band sound -- because this group has that side of the musical action down. The quartet is fronted by singer, guitarist, and main songwriter Jairo Van Lunteren, a Dutchman who has relocated to the United States. He has a nifty vocal style and a real flair for attractive choruses. The transition between his solo parts and sections with background vocals and harmonizing tend to be winding and dramatic, like a Dutch staircase. Even though this CD starts off like every boogie band that has ever fallen off a bar stage, the distinctive charm of the band comes through quickly and lingers. Some guest guitarists including the excellent Johnny Dowd help out on tracks, a delightful feature of the entire project being a kind of meaty, substantial electric guitar sound in both the rhythm and solo parts that brings to mind players such as Jorma Kaukonen and John Cipollina. "Train" is a great tune, with an electric guitar part that has much more energy than Amtrak ever manages as it shuffles through nearby Syracuse.

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