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The Revenants

Artists and Whores – 1998 (Epiphany)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

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CDs by The Revenants

The back cover of the CD by The Revenants, nee Suicide Kings, instructs clerks to "file under honky tonk," and while that exhortation isn't entirely inaccurate, it doesn't tell the whole story from the Arizona band. There's plenty here qualifying easily enough as such ("Every Single Minute With You Is Like a Minute Alone" and "She" being prime examples).

But there's an equal amount of the band's own particular version of the country/rock hybrid, a version characterized by an insistent stuttering beat, outsize acoustic guitar leavened with pedal steel guitar or dobro, and Bruce Connole's rasping and exaggerated drawl - which at times stops just this side of going over the top. As well, while there are lyrical concerns here consistent with traditional honky-tonking, there is also an abiding fixation with matters such as fate, death and what comes after (a fixation evident even in the band's name - a revenant being one who returns from death) that gives the album something of a split personality and at length, verges on being a bit tiresome.There's more than enough going on musically, however, to offset that reservation.