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Augustines - Passionate "Blue Collar" Rock
on 3 February 2014
Augustines are one of those bands who produce honest to goodness blue collar rock of the highest order. They comprise guitarist Billy McCarthy, multi-instrumentalist Eric Sanderson and drummer Rob Allen and unsurprisingly hail from Brooklyn New York. Their music doesn't really need much analyzing. It is a big rock album full of songs that hint at artists like Springsteen and Bob Seger plus bands like the Hold Steady and Gaslight Anthem, but which is distinctive enough to stand defiantly in its own right. The songs are often meticulously constructed anthems infused with the conviction that rock music has a social and communal purpose beyond just entertainment. Thus while the album would not score highly on the scale of originality it makes up for this in terms of raw passion.
Check out the enormous chants and sheer potent force of the excellent "Cruel City" destined to storm festivals across Europe this summer. Granted "Weary Eyes" does have a Springsteenesque quality to it, but on the upside it is as good as anything on the below par "High Hopes". The albums longest track "Walkabout" is to the Augustines what "First Night" was to the Hold Steady. It is their big "hit it for six" ballad and an excellent standout track with a great vocal by McCarthy. Another song "This Ain't Me" as a slightly Pearl Jam quality to it but pays repeated listens, while to this reviewers ears the pounding rock of "Don't look Back" is the type of song that could take this band from the club to the stadium and well worth pressing the cursor on the download button.
The album has a couple of missteps not least two instrumentals comprising the very slight opener "Intro - I touch Imaginary Hands" and the more euphoric but far from essential "Highway 1 Interlude". Equally there is a certain predictability with a formula of songs start slow and escalating to thumping crescendo. Yet it is good to hear a full blooded rock album once more and the Augustines songs are well paced and understand the dynamics of catch and release. All in all there is much exhilaration to be found in this very solid set.