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Monday, July 18, 2011

BoDeans

Indigo Dreams (He & He Records/Oarfin Records)

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The BoDeans, which released its debut album 25 years ago as a four-piece out of Waukesha, is now a duo. Guitarist/vocalist Sam Llanas and multi-instrumentalist/vocalist Kurt Neumann, always the band's heart and soul, co-wrote all 13 songs on Indigo Dreams. Former members and live players Michael Ramos (keyboards), Bukka Allen (accordion), Kenny Aronoff and Noah Levy (drums) appear as “guest musicians,” as Llanas and Neumann further the low-key yet compelling approach of post-2004 albums Resolution, Still and Mr. Sad Clown. As usual, they swap lead-vocal duties, with Neumann's performances more predictable and less adventurous than those of his partner.

But by now, the BoDeans' sound is so familiar that it's easy to fall in love at first spin with these songs—even if “Way Down” takes a riff from 1991's “True Devotion.” “Don't Wanna Go Home” features Llanas singing in Spanish. And the semiautobiographical “Rock N Roll Overdrive” may be the heaviest thing the BoDeans have recorded since the '90s.

Llanas and Neumann could have called it a day years ago; instead, they still make music worth hearing. A quarter-century on, what more could the faithful ask for?
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