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Scud Mountain Boys

The Early Year – 1997 (Sub Pop)

Reviewed by David Purcell

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CDs by Scud Mountain Boys

The Scud Mountain Boys rose out of late night gatherings in guitarist/vocalist Bruce Tull's kitchen, playing quiet, acoustic, country-flavored tunes more than the regular rock bands they were used to playing in. The Scuds became a full-time project and, almost immediately, released two records in one year. This is a double-CD reissue of these first two releases: "Pine Box" and "Dance The Night Away" (both released in 1995 on Chunk Records). The former was recorded with just one microphone.

"The Early Year" conveys the sort of vibe you expect from a band centered on quiet, late night gatherings. Gentle melodies, unassuming guitar lines, and understated arrangements are the norm - you can almost imagine the band members laboring to not wake up a sleeping child in the next room.

The disc has its moments, in fine originals such as "Silo" and "Reservoir," and in tasteful, subdued covers of "Wichita Lineman" and "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves." Overall, though, the sameness of the songs - in tempo and dynamics - becomes numbing, as one song bleeds into the next. However, if gentle pop (frequent comparisons to early 1970's AM radio staple Bread are not unfounded) is your thing, you will certainly enjoy "The Early Year."