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Lonesome Brothers

Fences – 2004 (SpiritHouse)

Reviewed by Brian Steinberg

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CDs by Lonesome Brothers

There may be a reason why these "siblings" are all by themselves. They toss off lyrical barbs in dressed-down musical settings that can evoke everything from NRBQ to "Harvest" era Neil Young. There are no sweet vocal harmonies here, just clever and curmudgeonly retorts and wry observations about strange situations, all played in roots rock settings.< BR>The first several songs rely on muted arrangements, which doesn't necessarily dull the impact. "Frozen George," for example, is all about disposing of a dead body. The beat picks up mid-way through, with songs such as "Lucky Size Seven," about a woman with a "truck-driver's mouth" and a "Neil Young slouch." The next tune, "Little City," even has the group building up a little Blue Mountain-like momentum. < BR>Singer-songwriters Jim Armenti and Ray Mason along with drummer Tom Shea are clearly having a good time. And while "Fences" may set off a few boundaries - fans of slick, overproduced country need not apply here - the intrepid will break right through. (116 Pleasant St., #3410, Easthampton, MA 01027)