Demolition String Band
I'll admit that when I was a kid, I really liked country music. I went to an Alabama concert with my Mom when I was about 8 years old and I can remember singing along with the country radio at my babysitters house during the summer. Then, at some point I did a 180 degree turn and absolutely couldn't stand the stuff. Perhaps it was the backlash of living in a small town in the midwest, but I honestly think that there were other reasons behind my turn. The main reason, of course, is that country music started a phase of complete shite at about that point and it hasn't really shook loose since then. Sure, Alabama might have not been the best group in the world, but I'd much rather listen to them than all the "new country" one could throw at me. I mean, just last week I bought some Johnny Cash records, and Will Oldham, Wilco, and about 50 other groups encorporated elements of classic country music into their sound.
Now that I've rambled on, let me just say that the Demolition String Band are what most people who listen to "new country" would consider rock. Likewise, most people who listen to only rock music would probably consider them country. In truth, they have elements of both, and although they don't have that indie-rock flair that Wilco does, they're a band that would definitely get you tapping your foot and figuring out who was up on stage if they were playing at your favorite watering hole.
Unfortunately, if you judge the album by the very first song, you're probably not going to give the group the chance they deserve. Although it has a pretty good honky-tonkin' rock swagger, "Garden Of Love" is about the cheesiest song on the entire disc lyrically. "Gone So Long" follows that track up on a strong note, however, and gets the album started out officially. With some very nice pedal steel adding to the fairly lush production (most tracks on the disc in fact, have at least 6 people contributing). Lead singer Elena Skye has just enough twang to keep things interesting, but not so much that you feel like CMT (Country Music Television, or whatever they call it now) is blaring in the background.
Although some of the slower tracks on the disc are nice (the album-titled "Pulling Up Atlantis" is probably the best of the bunch), the moments where the band really stand out are tracks where they crank things up a bit more. "Been Doin' Time" is yet another in the long line of jailbreak songs yet it still doesn't sound stale. Of course, I'd also be neglect if I didn't mention their cover of Madonna's "Like A Prayer," which might just be the most infectious track on the entire disc. It sounds so much better in the new format that the old version can be retired for all I care. Overall, the group has pulled off a pretty nice country/rock release that skirts just enough left of the radio dial that you won't feel embarrassed when you turn it up.