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Girls Guns and Glory

Sweet Nothings – 2011 (Lonesome Day)

Reviewed by Jeff Lincoln

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CDs by Girls Guns and Glory

Boston's Girls Guns and Glory, when they are not racking up frequent driver mileage on the road, occasionally release a record. While this is their fourth, it's most significantly reflective of a lineup change from 2009.

The anchor has been lead singer/songwriter Ward Hayden, and this band is something of his dream team. The new secret weapon is guitarist Chris Hersch, who thrives in the band's eclectic mix of rock-a-hillbilly. His solo on the title track sizzles, and his talent also comes to the fore in Snake Skin Belt.

Hayden himself has a compelling lyrical style of being able to simultaneously wallow in despair and tell whomever to simply dust yourself off and get over it. The prime example of that twinning is the excellent opener, Baby's Got a Dream. Atmospheric and ever raising the stakes on the sonic building, it's got a delicious Brian Eno flavor. While there's occasional missteps into maudlin territory (Root Cellar), when the band keeps the guitar pedals floored ( Nightime) the proceedings pop. The lyrics get lost in the stew if left on lower volumes.

One occasionally wishes that Hayden's vocals reached more or delivered added power. His Dwight Yokam/Chris Isaak ethereal delivery will cause listener division on loving or hating. But to be sure, this music really benefits from being played loudly.