Friday, November 26, 2010

Review: The Great Affairs “Ricky Took The Wheels”

Last February we reviewed the self-titled record from The Great Affairs (review here). The mastermind behind this outfit, Denny Smith, is back with Patrick Miller, Matt Andersen, and Jason Hees to promote their latest effort, “Ricky Took The Wheels”. “Ricky Took The Wheels” picks up where the last record left off, with the Nashville band serving up more pop Americana.

The first string players are right at the top of the lineup, although there is a pinch hitter saved for the very end. In-between are a lot of slumbering tunes that, while expertly performed, might be a chore for many of you to get through. “Feels Like Home” is a terrific way to start things off…an upbeat number straight out of the Tom Petty songbook. Hearing The Great Affairs play this one feels like home, indeed, and this one is my favorite off the new album. “Inside Your Head” also has its charms, with a bit of Black Crowes injected into the punchy riffs. The verses shake you a bit, but it is the wonderful pre-chorus that gets you moving. “My Apologies” is a sparse and lovely fingerpicked tune, but like many songs on “Ricky Took The Wheels”, it takes a few spins to fully appreciate its subtle majesty. A few sleepers creep in, but then “You’re Not Funny” arrives - a bluesy road house track that gets your blood pumping once again. Similarly, “Bastard Son” is a driving pop rocker that proves these guys can be more accessible if they want to be. Finally, the record ends on a high note with the crazy good rocker called “Last Good Memory”.

Half slow, half upbeat, “Ricky Took The Wheels" takes us up to the mountains and down into the valleys. The Great Affairs is recommended if you like The Jayhawks, Grant Lee Phillips, or Wilco.

iPOD-worthy: 1, 2, 3, 7, 9, 12

The Great Affairs on MySpace.

Listen to “Feels Like Home”