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Saturday, May 1, 2010

The BoDeans

Mr. Sad Cown (429)

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Overrated by the rock press when they debuted in 1986, the BoDeans were elevated by excitable critics from promising Milwaukee bar band to champions of heartland rock. Many groups would have evaporated under the withering hype and exhausted their stock of inspiration in a blur of relentless touring. Somehow, the BoDeans not only persevered but also got better at their craft.


Their new album, Mr. Sad Clown, finds them at the top of the game they have honed since those long ago nights at Century Hall. Kurt Neuman has become a crack producer and engineering, wrapping the CD with a crisp shimmer and imaginative touches. Neuman and Sam Llanas haven’t lost their ear for a tune; their poetic insights have grown sharper and their rough-hewn harmonies have gained assurance. The songwriters have range within the scope of the band’s sound, from the melancholy Mink DeVille balladry of “If...” to the fist-pumping arena rocker “Say Goodbye.”


The BoDeans perform 8 p.m. Friday, May 28 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts.

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