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The Zeftrons

The Zeftrons – 1997 (Rockingham)

Reviewed by Jon Johnson

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CDs by The Zeftrons

Though actually released in 1996, "The Zeftrons" has escaped the attention of all but a few due to poor distribution. More's the pity because "The Zeftrons" is a tremendously impressive debut; one that should make Americana radio stations across the country sit up and take notice, given the opportunity.

Based in Maine and led by guitarist/vocalist Michael Landgarten, The Zeftrons excel at the type of rootsy rock that is mother's milk to fans of Dave Alvin (whose vocals Landgarten's greatly resembles at times), Springsteen, and "Blood On the Tracks"-era Dylan. Landgarten is a keen songwriter whose writing, though less cinematic in approach than Alvin's or Springsteen's, nonetheless proves him a razor-sharp observer of relationships; particularly of the mistakes and soul-piercing bitterness that drives people apart, for example in "Chains" (the album's obvious radio hit) and "Don't Come Back."

Ned Chase (lead guitar), Brian Coleman (bass guitar), and Jon Haas (drums) - perform with energy and great taste; never overpowering Landgarten's songs. Though a not a country record, except in perhaps the broadest possible definition of the word,this deserves a place in the collections of any self-respecting Americana fan - well worth searching out. (Available from POB 101, Portsmouth, NH 03802-0101, email: playhahd@nh.ultranet.com)