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Grievous Angels

New City of Sin – 1997 (Bloodshot)

Reviewed by David Purcell

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CDs by Grievous Angels

While the mighty fine Waco Brothers may reign as the flagship band of Bloodshot, Tempe, Ariz.'s Grievous Angels offer the fullest embodiment of the label's "honky-skronk" vision. Where the Waco's punk energy lands them more on the rock side of the country-rock fence, the GA's come through with solid country chops, led by Earl Whitehead's gritty lead vocals and the twang of multi-instrumentalist extraordinaire Jon Rauhouse (pedal steel, Hawaiian guitar, banjo,mandolin). This strong effort that establishes the band near the head of the new class of twang rockers.

The disc features tight ensemble playing, soulful lead vocals, tasteful picking and some of the strongest harmonies to be found in alt.country-land. The lyrics occasionally tend toward the pedestrian, but don't let that stop you from playing this album loud at your next Saturday night barbecue. Highlights include the lonesome "Can You Hear Me," the rollicking "Scandal of the Century" and the hard swinging "Carolina Bound." (Stay tuned at the end for the hidden Sex Pistols cover.)