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The BoDeans

Still – 2008 (He & He)

Reviewed by Andy Turner

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CDs by The BoDeans

Waukesha, Wisconsin's BoDeans have been around look enough to be a corporation more than a band. Fortunately, this T Bone Burnett-produced disc does not come off like business proceedings, but instead a solid, sometimes inspired effort that easily sells the veteran group's finest qualities: Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann's vivid songwriting and top-level harmonizing.

Burnett's back on board for the first time since "Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams," and while he doesn't help the band recapture the glory of that classic debut, his connection with the BoDeans certainly remains. Batting cleanup appropriately, the roadhouse-ready "Lucille" is easily the strongest track. It's got tons of swagger and soul and those previously mentioned sweet harmonies. Following close behind, and conveniently one song later, is "The First Time," showcasing the BoDeans' stellar ability to meld roots music and pop. A few songs, such as "Breathe" and "Wonder Wonder," are overly glossy and less memorably penned. Mostly, however, backed by more than capable supporting musicians, Llanas and Neumann show that 30 years into their creative partnership, they still complement each other perfectly.