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Pinmonkey

Big Shiny Cars – 2006 (Back Porch)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

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CDs by Pinmonkey

When last heard from, Pinmonkey was riding somewhat high with "Barbed Wire & Roses." Then they lost their RCA label deal and drummer Rick Schell, but decided to forge on anyway. Thank goodness because they do not sound any worse the wear on their country rock album.

Michael Reynolds remains a fine lead singer, a bit smooth - and that's no knock - and heartfelt at the same time. Not only is he easy on the eyes, he's easy on the ears. The spiritual "Mountain Song" penned by Kieran Kane and Pinmonkey guitarist Chad Jeffers sounds particularly strong.

They could have mixed it up with more sonic diversity, but at least what they offer is high quality. They slow it down fortunately on "Coldest Fire in Town," where Elizabeth Cook does a fine turn on backing harmonies with help from Rusty Young, best known for his work with Poco, appropriate since that band is a good reference point for Pinmonkey. Reynolds come off quite plaintive on "Living Proof" as well.

The title cut by Davis Raines sums up the band's ups and downs over the years. If Pinmonkey does acquire the "big shiny car" habit, then based on these 11 songs, it will be well deserved.