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10,000 Towns by Eli Young Band

Outside of the excellent hit singles “Drunk Last Night” and “Dust,” most of the material on Eli Young Band’s latest album, 10,000 Towns, is decent but not quite up to the level of those two powerhouses. And material is the ultimate barometer here, because the band itself sounds more finely tuned than ever.

Mike Eli in particular has become a more expressive lead vocalist, communicating the emotion of each song with a gritty effectiveness. Plus, there are some nice production touches, like the Beatles-esque opening passage of “Your Last Broken Heart,” one of the better cuts on the record.

But the title track seems a curious choice, as it revisits the same small-town territory that’s pretty much been exhausted by this point, along with its rapid-fire, stream-of-consciousness style.

“Let’s Do Something Tonight” seems a bit too Tin Pan Alley-ish for this group. On the upside, “Just Add Moonlight” offers up some timely guy advice while the previously mentioned “Your Last Broken Heart” comes with a wonderful hook: Your last broken heart was your last broken heart.

Mostly, it’s a good effort from an act that keeps on improving with each outing.

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