Something darker lurks underneath the crisp, clean production of Kris Kehr and Stone Poets' self-titled rootsy disc. This combo, which laces blues-rock licks with organ and accordion, belts out a number of tight songs featuring Kehr's gruff vocals. But the songs that stand out hint at something a little more sinister about their subjects. "Lucky Thirteen" features great work from drummer Jack Wilkinson and organist Rev. James Harton. "A Cruel Setting" opens up with a searing harmonica lick that echoes the start of Bruce Springsteen's "The River." and moves on to offer a chilling vocal turn.
Too often, however, the Poets are content to choogle along, satisfied in their tight interplay. Lyrics like "Around and around we go/And where it stops, no one knows" and bar-band arrangements saddle the band with weights not easily shrugged off. Better stories and a little more musical risk-taking witll help Stone Poets rise above the pack. (888-565-0083)