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Sixwire – 2002 (Warner)

Reviewed by Brian Baker

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CDs by Sixwire

Scan Sixwire's bio on the occasion of their self-titled debut, and you'll find the word "country" appears exactly once, and it shows up just ahead of the word "rock." Punchy guitars and throbbing rhythm section aside, Sixwire has less to do with country rock than country pop, a fact that is brought home by the band's publicity photos. Their spiked hair, tight jeans, black leather coats, and smoldering looks give them every appearance of Nashville's 'N Sync; there are a couple of rockers here that find Sixwire just barely avoiding breaking into a hip hop line dance.

For the record, none of this should be construed as an indictment of the band's craft. Sixwire makes great pop music that occasionally offers up the sonic touchstones of country (pedal steel, fiddle, twangy guitar runs), and they sell it all with truly impressive vocal harmonies, but identifying Sixwire as country is like telling your boss that your hangover is the flu. None of this will hurt Sixwire in the least - the country radio that ignored O Brother could make them stars. And isn't that the point of the business, after all?