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Homespun: Via Dove

El Mundo Latino
(self-released)

Via Dove's debut full-length, El Mundo Latino, is in line with the hurricane-rock atmosphere of its live shows. Jagged guitar riffs, gigantic drums, deep-grooved rhythms and vocalist Andy Shadburne's twang-burnished growls dominate these eleven songs. Familiar touchstones abound: the Black Keys' lo-fi blues ("Need Someone"), Everclear's grunge-pop ("I Don't Mind"), Kings of Leon's dirty Southern boogie ("(I Can't) Recognize the Signs") and Pearl Jam's arena-caliber, classic-rock nuance ("Treasure"). Highlights include the slithering, bass-driven "All We've Got" — which features some dirty, sleazy saxophone from Manoj Mohan — and the blink-and-you'll-miss-it snarl, "Fast Times." Shadburne is a clear but powerful singer, and his dynamic range easily handles these variations on a rock & roll theme.

Latino rarely slows down, however, and that's fatiguing over the long haul. The aforementioned "All We've Got" and the lighter-worthy ballad "Take a Chance," both of which are subtler and more midtempo, are a welcome change of pace. And despite Latino's well-produced songs — make no mistake, the album is slick without feeling glossy or fake — the record is manicured rock & roll dirt. While coming from a sincere place, these songs are so seamless and well-constructed, they often feel like raucous replicas instead of truly unhinged riots. This isn't a fatal flaw; after all, Latino is Via Dove's first album. The quartet has plenty of time to explore (and draw on) unseemly turbulence and develop its own unique voice.Annie Zaleski

Want your CD to be considered for a review in this space? Send music c/o Riverfront Times, Attn: Homespun, 6358 Delmar Boulevard, Suite 200, St. Louis, Missouri, 63130. E-mail music @riverfronttimes.com for more information.

 
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