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The Volebeats

Sky and Ocean – 1997 (Safehouse)

Reviewed by Eric Zehnbauer

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CDs by The Volebeats

The latest indy disc by The Volebeats of Michigan may be hard to find, but it's well worth the search.

Stylistically, the full-length mines the same "Americana" musical vein as The Jayhawks, The Delevantes and The Byrds with lilting melodies and beautiful vocal harmonies. The performers don't fall into the faux authenticity trap which says that an inability to carry a tune proves a singer's "street cred."

While there isn't a wealth of traditional country instrumentation, the feeling the tunes evoke is closer to traditional country than Hot New Country.

Although these songs are generally softer and slower, they don't have the cloying, sickening-sweetness of some of the sugary ballads out of Nashville. Highlights include "Two Seconds" and "Annabel."The Volebeats turn the tempo and volume up a notch on several tunes, most notably the rockabilly number "Warm Weather." But mostly, the music rolls over the listener. A most enjoyable experience.