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Green Bay trio scores on
their debut album

Ian Olvera & The Sleepwalkers - The Reckless Kind
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Sept. 24, 2010
Ian Olvera & The Sleepwalkers

Review by Tony Bonyata

The Packers may be Green Bay, Wisconsin's best-known talent, but a group of three young local men known collectively as Ian Olvera & The Sleepwalkers are starting to cause ripples in, and outside of, the city's music scene.

Led by singer, songwriter & guitarist Ian Olvera, and joined by drummer Nik Davidson and bassist Connor Lamue, the trio turns in a hard-hitting debut on their self-released full-length, The Reckless Kind. Mixing the chiming guitars, sweet melodies and punchy hooks of late '70s power-pop with the twang and sway of mid '90s alt-country, the threesome have managed to make these two strange bedfellows work very well together - not unlike Petty or Springsteen in their respective youths.

Much of the album's strength lies in Olvera's adept songwriting skills, as witnessed on the indelible opening track "Darkest Weather," the glam-rock-infused power pop of "Don't Wanna Talk About It" and the more straight-ahead rock of "I Won't Let You Down." But the young musician also proves himself on the country-battered track "Is This It" and the gentle balladry of "In The Morning" and "Laundry & Cigarettes" that hearkens back to the West Coast singer-songwriter style of the '70s.

It should also be noted that as good as this first effort is, I recently caught this trio's live performance and they were on fire - eschewing some of their rootsier-stride in favor of extremely taut and dynamic pop songs delivered with a youthful, wide-eyed enthusiasm (and considering that they've opened for the likes of power-pop legend Paul Collins Beat, The Redwalls, The Obsoletes and Eau Claire's own The Daredevil Christopher Wright, it's little wonder they've got the chops to win over their audiences every performance). Pick up this record and, more importantly, catch these guys next time they're playing in the area - it's a live show that doesn't disappoint, and, despite the band's moniker, I guarantee you won't see anyone sleepwalking through it.

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