Tom Tom Blues

The 77s

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Tom Tom Blues Review

by J. Edward Keyes

After the bleakness of Drowning With Land in Sight, The 77's sought to return to sunnier, friendlier territory. Pared down to a three-piece due to the departure of David Leonhardt and Aaron Smith, the new 77's presented themselves as a leaner, trimmer outfit. Unfortunately, the restructuring does little to rescue the band from its musical rut. Though they still eke out a few winning pop numbers ("Flowers in the Sand," "Don't Leave Me Long"), Roe's obsession with bar blues and classic rock hampers any possibility of forward movement. Songs like "Honesty" are lumbering and awkward, and the record's second half disintegrates into aimless experimentation and novelty songs like the one-minute "Five in the Nave" and the white-funk "Gravy Chain." There are flashes of the former glory, but they come in patches, and the prevailing mood is one of confusion and uncertainty. Rather than striking out on their own, The 77's here resort to aping popular trends. The result is their spottiest, least satisfying record.

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