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Band of Heathen

Band of Heathens – 2008 (Self-released)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Band of Heathen

It's probably not kosher to compare a group of Austin musicians to the offerings in a Chinese restaurant. And yet, Band of Heathens offers up such a wide palette on their new disc, making the analogy is, like that second egg roll, just a little too tough too resist. Austin's Band of Heathens delivers a steaming heap of soul-dipped country, country-fried gospel and a couple of other plates they probably haven't even come up with names for yet.

Take "Jackson Station," which has the feel of a revival. Or the power-pop chorus of "Heart On My Sleeve." The echoes of Little Feat on "Second Line" or "Unsleeping Eye" and "Cornbread" disarmingly melds sexual suggestion with a few musical figures a churchgoer wouldn't find unfamiliar. Band of Heathens is essentially a group effort by a bunch of individuals. These folks found themselves playing adjoining sets at a popular Austin club and decided to pool efforts. While some of the songs seem indistinguishable from other radio-ready efforts out there, it's that combination of disparate interests that ought to keep Band of Heathens slightly fresher than the competition.