Mile 8

Whatever Works

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Nashville jam band Mile 8 owe more to the creative arrangements of bands like Phish and Dave Matthews Band than they do to fellow "good-time" rockers Blues Traveler or the Spin Doctors. Their lively debut, the aptly titled Whatever Works, finds the amiable six-piece experimenting with soul, reggae, pop, prog and roots rock with an infectious energy that would light up even the most stubborn summer night. Singer/guitarist Randy Boen leads the charge with a voice that makes even the most insipid lyric a Shakespearean call to party -- "Whatcha gotta do is feel the groove/let your booty move" is announced without irony on "Grandma's Groovin'." Robert Knowles and Curt Redding provide the serpentine spine of the group with their dual-percussion onslaught, and along with sax player Adam Livingston, lift the songs out of "local band" mediocrity and place them firmly in the "outdoor stadium" limelight. While their eclectic brand of collegiate white-boy funk does occasionally conjure up images of flesh-filled basements lined with nitrous tanks and Coors party balls -- hold your girlfriend's hair back during the god-awful "Pogo Stick" -- Mile 8 are genuinely in it for the love of music, and when Boen declares his own surprise at their newfound success on "For You" -- "funny, this whole thing just started for fun/we've been on a helluva run/sometimes staring at the stars/sometimes beaten never scarred, for you" -- it's hard not to get caught up right along with them.

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