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Eli Young Band

Jet Black and Jealous – 2008 (Universal South)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Eli Young Band

New to many ears but long on bootstrapping, the Eli Young Band mixes country with smart production to come up with an album that goes down smooth, but doesn't bite. That may not be for all listeners: the band's producers seem to have forsworn grit for polish, when a little more letting loose would - at least on some parts of the record - have been welcome.

The opening of Always the Love Songs, for example, makes one think of something from The Wallflowers (another band that had to sacrifice some of its rootsy bent in order to catch the ears of a wider audience). And Radio Waves is a pleasant diversion that presents the narrator as a broadcaster of good vibes and a loving bent.

The band's interplay is impressive and one can imagine something along the lines of The Wallflowers, Tom Petty or even the V-Roys coming out of this stew down the road. You'll like "Jet Black and Jealous" when you're out on the town for a few drinks. You may get a hankering for something a little sassier if you're really hitting the sauce.