red lights


Southern band delivers strong
Midwestern-flavored power pop

Alan Yates Band - Red
(Tripolar Records)
3 1/2 stars (out of 5 stars)
Reviewed: Aug. 4, 2005
Alan Yates Band

Review by Tony Bonyata

It's not all beer drinkers and hell-raisers down south of the Mason-Dixon line, as the Alan Yates Band proves on Red, the new follow-up album to their debut, Mint Condition. That's not to say, however, that this Atlanta, GA-based quartet isn't able to stir up a little hell themselves; it's just that instead of forcing together classic rock riffs with regurgitated country music under the shadow of a shotgun, bandleader Alan Yates steers his music closer to the explosive power pop of the Midwest originally mined in the late '70s. On his recently released sophomore effort, Red, Yates delivers a refreshingly upbeat record with the right balance between hook-laden melodies, strong vocals, powder-keg rhythms and guitars that, at times, deliver a Clapton-like sting (as on the more introspective number "16 Minutes") and, at other times, the fuzzed-up beauty of early alt-rockers Dinosaur Jr. ("Place in the Sun"). And the angst-ridden vocals, volatile rhythms and guitar leads that snake around the big, bold chords on the opening track "Talk" also lend comparisons to Nirvana when they were making their own transition from underground punk unknowns to mainstream rock superstars.
As far the songs themselves are concerned, Yates and company deliver in spades with catchy pop rock numbers ("Arlington," "Wasting Time" and the flexed-muscle rocker "Wind Me Up," complete with strategically orchestrated guitar feedback), along with more thought-provoking songs such as the acoustic-driven "Can You Hear Me," which is accented with a lovely, swirling, almost psychedelic arrangement buried just beneath the surface of the song.
In terms of sheer musical innovations, Red offers little new to the table, but this is a small concession to make for an album that still manages to push all the right buttons as far as the energy, passion and art of rock & roll is concerned.

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