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Brooklyn’s Heaven’s Jail Band are back after a 2011 debut I didn’t hear, playing some bluesy indiemericana with some high-pedigree buddies from bands like Phosphorescent and Dept of Eagles dropping by to help out. It’s quite dark, heartfelt country pop-rock type stuff that falls somewhere between the sentimental bar-rock of Lucero or the Drive-By Truckers and the dramatic sentimental storytelling of Franz Nicolay, lots of sneaky build-ups and heartstring-tugging solos, an undisguised debt to Saint Bruce of Springsteen but also a touch of Dire Straits in the little shuffly grooves, or maybe Hiss Golden Messenger if I’m to use a more contemporary comparison that won’t put you off.
It’s nothing we’ve not heard before but they’re good at it. The Sebadoh-esque ‘Sleep Outside’ is an immediate stand-out on first listen. You certainly need to have a stomach for the country-blues type stuff but if you’re already a fan of bands like Calexico, HGM, DBT, Lucero, Phosphorescent, Blueshammer, Wilco and the like, you’ll probably dig this too.
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