Cut the Dive Poets some slack: The quartet, which has been playing around St. Louis for only a year, is still finding its voice. (Right now it lies somewhere between Cougaresque heartland anthems and Counting Crows acoustic rock, making the band unfashionably late to the 21st century.) But there's an earnest charm in the Dive Poets' unassuming Americana, the concise and melodic Telecaster guitar contours, the metronomic country rock rhythms, its cordial offers to buy a small-town bar a round, and the plaintive, restrained vocals of singer and songwriter Eric Sargent. On the gorgeous piano ballad "Someday Soon," Sargent cuts to the quick of an interminable war's incalculable home front costs — and on the modest "Cherokee Nights," the whole band captures the sweet loneliness of life and love on the south side.
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