The Maldives: Listen To The Thunder

By: Dennis Cook

This thoroughly winning set by Seattle's The Maldives embraces country and country-rock's full spectrum, settling comfortably into the spaces once occupied by Marty Robbins AND the Laurel Canyon long hairs. Beginning by cheekily chanting "Goodbye" with warbled intensity, they soon dive into twangier fare, and every cut hums with passion, marked by an intensity of playing and affection for the genre that stretches from pedal steel touched wagon train choogling ("Time Is Right Now") to prime CSNY swoon ("Say Nothing"), with a fantastic final couplet, "Walk Away" and "Going Home," that first stirs up a mighty Crazy Horse worthy storm and then takes it down to beautiful, delicate, fiddle sprinkled whisper. Bandleader Jason Dodson writes endlessly sturdy tunes and sings them in a voice that sounds like it was barrel aged for at least 20 years. The playing by all is muscular and exciting, and the whole thing brings one back to the early '70s when country music seemed like it might give rock a solid run in terms of creativity and contemporary relevance. This is worlds away from the cynical high gloss of today's Nashville and Los Angeles fluff, and all the better for it.

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[Published on: 10/7/09]

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