The Volebeats

The Sky and the Ocean

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Detroit's Volebeats' third full-length album, The Sky and the Ocean, is a standout effort demonstrating that their songwriting chops just continue to improve with each album. Once again bandmembers Jeff Oakes (vocals), Matthew Smith (lead guitar, vocals) and Bob McCreedy (guitar, vocals), serve up unforgettable melodic hooks with thoughtful lyrical content. The Volebeats' arrangements are uncluttered and the laid-back, acoustic-based country-folk grooves are embellished mainly by Smith's haunting Shadows-style lead guitar. And that style is particularly gripping on the stunning title track, underscoring artful lyrics with an eerie musical vibe that resembles a '60s movie theme. The band steps it up on an uncharacteristic, although fittingly welcome, rockabilly-tinged number "Warm Weather," which features some rollicking ivory-tickling by one-time bandmember Keir McDonald. Although any of the group's records would be a worthwhile choice, The Sky and the Ocean showcases an extremely ear-pleasing and talented band that has hit its stride.

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