The Refreshments

The Bottle & Fresh Horses

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For their second album, the Refreshments moved away from the half-serious alt-rock that made their debut effort Fizzy Fuzzy Big & Buzzy (specifically its caper-chronicling single, "Banditos") a minor hit. With the assistance of producer Paul Leary -- who helped his own band, Butthole Surfers, crack the Top 40 charts one year prior -- the group dreamed up an earnest, dustier sound, blending heartland rock & roll with elements of country and power-pop. Tracks like "Wanted" and "Preacher's Daughter" spun tales of western outlaws with poppy precision -- including handclaps, bright vocal harmonies, and crisp guitars -- while "Dolly" and "Good Year" were raw, hook-driven rock songs that went sorely unnoticed on modern rock radio. Although The Bottle & Fresh Horses effectively marked the end of the Refreshments, the album still encouraged frontman Roger Clyne to stretch his country legs, an opportunity that served him well several years later, when he launched the twangy follow-up project Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers. Meanwhile, likeminded groups like the Old 97's enjoyed a greater degree of success with the very same hybrid of rock, country, and pop, but The Bottle & Fresh Horses never really caught fire outside of the band's Arizona home, and it failed to maintain the Refreshments' place in the post-grunge mainstream. Accordingly, consider this record one of the best forgotten gems of its time.

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