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american matador
The Buddyrevelles
American Matador
Motorcoat

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Nearly everyone who writes about the Buddyrevelles eventually mentions the fact that they're from Eau Claire, Wisconsin. Eau Claire is so small, they say: who the hell is from Eau Claire? The Buddyrevelles, that's who. And after American Matador, that really ought to be more than enough to keep Eau Claire on the map.

The Buddyrevelles are not exactly dopeless; they make musical references to record labels Merge, Up and (ahem) Matador. In fact, they're really sort of tidy, and make strong, capable indie rock music with small surprises. The tracks are melodic -- more so than many of the better emo and indie bands to which they're frequently compared, but the Buddyrevelles maintain their muscular rock pedigree and never descend to wimpiness or lose their independent personality.

Aaron Grant's voice is mid-toned, deep and full, and sounds sort of like Versus. The guitar and bass work sounds like Unrest and Superchunk (albeit softer). The band's arrangements are deft and sure, tracks tumbling from one to the next without any jarring changes of mood or tempo. "Pablo's Theme", the standout track, packs an emotional wallop with barely a word. The gently strummed guitar and bass in this almost-instrumental piece take on voices of their own, and sound almost acoustic; the changes come so insidiously that listening to the whole piece is an exercise in paying attention. The repetitive, subtly changing bass line in "Dave on a Plank" is so addictive that the song is practically over before you notice it. The instrumentation is tight enough that you'll be tempted to ignore the lyrics altogether, but at times they're so emotional, as in "Let's Ride Horses" ("Are you holding my hand or my heart?") or "That Does Not Make Sense" ("You can call the shots/ you can call me anytime"), that it would be a mistake to do so. Meditative, sweet, happy, plaintive; the music seduces your ears to careful listening. When I got this disc, I initially saw it as a knockoff (albeit a good one) of the band's aforementioned influences. American Matador is much more than that, and I'll be listening to this one for some time to come. Only the next album by the Buddyrevelles is going to knock it out of my heavy rotation stack.

-- Jenn Sikes
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