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BR549's commercial success has never matched their critical acclaim, or the ecstatic response to their blazing live shows. Yet their first album in three years, This Is BR549, is the work of a band clearly as much in love with music-making as the day they first ambled off the roadhouse circuit and into a recording studio.
Lead singers and songwriters Chuck Mead and Gary Bennett lead the band through 11 effortlessly swinging tracks, from clever originals like the tongue-in-cheek single, "Too Lazy To Work, Too Nervous To Steal," to well-chosen covers like Nick Lowe's thumping "Play That Fast Thing (One More Time)" and the Everly Brothers' "Price Of Love." The only real misstep is a version of the Anne Murray hit "A Little Good News," a song so schmaltzy not even these hillbilly hipsters can save it.
For most of its snappy 36 minutes, though, This Is BR549 is a clever, spirited hoote-nanny. So will these guys ever find the mass popularity they deserve? Maybe - after all, this much fun can't be kept a secret forever.
- Chris Neal