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Portland, OR-based brothers Sam Densmore and John C. Densmore have spent ample time on the underground -- including a tenure in the Olympia noise pop band Frequency db -- but Westward is mostly an exercise in Sturm und Twang. In fact, the band's stab at indie rock ("Kalispell") is downright iffy. Luckily, the Densmores know who they want to be more times than not, yielding winners like "Fools, Love, Gold" and "Fancy Bird." If those tracks recall Cracker at its peak, the disc achieves lift off with the Jonathan Richman-like charmer "Rocket to Space." While the percolating, dusty roll of "The Hold Up" and "Waking Up Drunk" make them feel like they'd be ideally matched with the soundtrack of a modern Western, Westward is less essential than it is enjoyable.

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