Sunday Best is a sophisticated progression for the Swinging Steaks as they capture and carry the flag the Flying Burrito Brothers once held and waved so high. Released on their own Thrust Records in America and on Blue Rose in Europe, Tim Giovanniello and Jamie Walker split up the writing chores again along with a couple of tunes from the pen of keyboardist Jim Gambino. One of those tunes, "Stupid," is simply fantastic -- great pop hooks with effective playing to embellish the solid refrain. It and Giovanniello's "Bad Day" are among the standouts -- the very special compositions that always seem to work their way onto the Steaks' projects. "Pictures" is right up there with those two, another song of holding on -- guitarist/vocalist Giovanniello just "waiting for the rain" so he can pull out the pictures he's saved for that kind of day. It's an inspired vocal performance to match the lyrics with the band to maintain the energy. Walker's contributions are to this project what Lindsey Buckingham's work was to Fleetwood Mac's Tusk album: good, consistent, and the glue that keeps it all together. His "Light of the Moon" is a nice conclusion to the effort, effective in its melancholy. Sunday Best is not the knockout punch this band is capable of, but there's not a bad track on it, and a few sail over the fence. At close to an hour playing time, it's an ambitious and realized effort from the veteran New England act.
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