Peter Bruntnell

Peter Bruntnell

Normal For Bridgwater

Slow River

Peter Bruntnell’s Normal For Bridgwater was released in Europe last year. After some word-of-mouth buzz spread to the Yankee coast, it was released here. The reality is, his music is rooted in American music to begin with. Fans of the ever-popular alt-country movement will be happy. The only trouble is that it follows the formula laid down by Uncle Tupelo to a “T.” That isn’t to say the song quality isn’t here — Bruntnell holds up with the best of them. The bases are all covered, in compositions of pathos that teeter between country and rock (the album’s title supposedly refers to a doctor’s diagnosis of alcohol-related illnesses suffered by Bridgwater, England residents). The disc’s best track, “Forgiven,” is the most loyal to the alt-country movement. “By the Time My Head Gets to Phoenix” is reminiscent of the folk pop of the Jayhawks. “Lay Down This Curse” could be an outtake from Son Volt’s masterful work of roots rock, 1995’s Trace. The dilemma this presents: is such a faithful replication of great music an asset or a form of Muzak?

Slow River/Rykodisc USA, PO Box 141, Gloucester, MA 01931-0141, http://www.slowriver.com, stirling@stakis.com

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