Monday, June 4, 2012
The BoDeans got their start as a Waukesha bar band with a slight Americana accent, but in the years since their 1986 debut album, core members Sam Llanas and Kurt Neuman have grown as songwriters and outgrown easy labels. A few of Neuman's songs on American Made could have come from the Bruce Springsteen songbook of the '70s and one number actually did—the BoDeans' polished, understated cover of one of the Boss' best, "I'm on Fire." Many of their own lyrics cast a middles-age shadow of reflection without succumbing to cheap nostalgia or sentimentality. And with its themes of dependency, pain and despondency, "Chemical" is as close to a great guitar-powered rock song as anything released lately.