May 27, 2010

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Truth & Salvage Co., Truth & Salvage Co.
Megaforce Records, May 25
It’s a moderately bold leap of faith to think longtime metal label Megaforce Records could deliver some decent country-pop, but here it is, a songwriting platoon that’d fit well on tour with Hold Steady, playing the role of something less opaque, slightly more Big & Rich-like — definitely more LA, ultimately, and not only because they formed there, meeting at Hotel Café where they held court on an every-Friday residency.

The record starts out shooting at a bullet-pocked barrel of fish with “Hail Hail,” a controlled burst of yee-haw singalong that tacks the words “reefer and beer” smugly to its chorus, but this is no one-off joke band – if Alabama had grown up listening to Barenaked Ladies they would have done something similar to “Call Back.” One thing about these urban cowpokes is that there isn’t really one main songwriter; four different contributors get equal time, but it’s hard to tell which is which being that they have identical vision. Hints of Everclear on “Rise Up”; best knuckleball is the gen-yoo-wine Allman Brothers-style jam that closes out “See Her.” A-EWS