Doug Alan

Sun, Surf and Sand

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The centerpiece track to Doug Alan's debut album is "Minutemen," a rousing salute to a group that President George W. Bush dubbed "vigilantes" in 2005. Alan's favorable lyrics posit the group as a vital and integral part of America's homeland security in the fight against terrorism, though the song never really explains how tattling on illegal immigrants crossing the Arizona/Mexico border fits in with the fight against al Qaeda. Musically, the song is more than a little reminiscent of "The Ballad of the Green Berets," and it's sung in a voice that sounds at first like some kind of deadpan parody of former late-night TV commercial mainstay Slim Whitman's baritone yodel. Then, when listening to the rest of Sun, Surf and Sand, it becomes clear that this bizarre, mannered croon is simply how Alan sings. The other songs are considerably less creepy than "Minutemen," but unfortunately, they're also dead boring. Apparently, Alan never heard a country music cliché he didn't immediately incorporate into his own music, and the onslaught of tired topics, forced rhymes, and dull, twangy melodies overpowers the listener by album's end. There are literally hundreds of terrific independent country albums released every year. Sun, Surf and Sand is definitely not one of them.

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