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Uncle Lucius

The Light – 2015 (Boo Clap)

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

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CDs by Uncle Lucius

Traversing the Lone Star state of Texas, Uncle Lucius has gained slow momentum over the course of the past decade, releasing four albums and generally eschewing the temptation to sign with a big time label for the sake of maintaining control over their own destiny. Fan funded "The Light" keeps their indie ethos intact. "Going through the motions/without knowing why; Faking our emotions/trying hard not to try," they sing at one point, indicating a desire to travel their own path while hoping it leads them to the mainstream.

In truth, Uncle Lucius cling tightly to the past, funneling several specific rural rock influences and generally echoing a ragged, Dixie-fried sound and a communal embrace. Attitude and aptitude are intertwined, with singer Kevin Galloway's gruff vocals setting the tone for their non-nonsense observations.

They mostly pocket their venom in favor of a less venomous approach that's rollicking but rarely rabid. Songs like "Age of Freedom," "Gulf Coast Gypsies" and "Find Then Fade Away" keep to a deliberate, somewhat pensive pace that maintains its determination without the need to goad its listeners into ascending a higher plateau. This is a decidedly down to earth bunch, clearly capable of stirring up a backwards ballad like the humble and homespun "Taking in the View" or a track flush with pensive reflection in the form of "Nothing to Save." It's a decidedly disciplined approach that tows the line between resilience and restraint.

That's not to say Uncle Lucius is lacking in either energy or enthusiasm. The rollicking rhythms that underscore such songs as "The End of 118" and "Someday Is a Far Cry" attest to their ability to pump up the proceedings and assert their populist leanings. If anything they take their cue from bands like the Allman Brothers, whose blend of funk and astute instrumentation is key to a savvy approach.

Indeed, Uncle Lucius has a sound with a distinctive rural rock feel, resulting from a road-tested ensemble possessing just the right amount of sway and swagger. There's clear confidence manifest in the way they move the music forward, but the lack of bravado and indulgence betrays better instincts that seem to serve them well. Call it southern rock with a knowing stance. By any description, their efforts are admirable.