swing like a metronome

Devil in the Woods

This San Luis Obispo, CA group plays a sleepy country-western-meets-California-psychedelic-siesta type music most of the time. By description, it sounds interesting. By reality, it gets annoying from the first bassline.

The music was actually not as much of a problem as are the vocals, which sound rather off-key, strained, forced into falsetto, and out of synch for the quieter, prettier songs that make up the majority of the album. It is extremely interesting that no one claims credit for the vocals on each song, but they do point out who plays what instrument. Strange, but fortunate for passing the buck around on each one. It sounds like each one of the three takes turns with lead vocals, but I’m not sure if that is better or worse. Some of the vocals sound purposefully forced or skewed for whatever reason.

There are some tracks, such as “Capitol City,” that are a little more rock oriented and work better with the vocals than the slower ones. A Townes Van Zandt cover, “Loretta,” sounds pretty decent, and a Sonic Youth cover pops up as well to end the album.

This is not an album full of awful songs, but there aren’t fifteen great ones here either. First things first, Rodriguez needs some vocal training or a new member. It doesn’t matter if they want to sound like Neil Young or not, they need some help here. An alternative would be to release an instrumental album. If their musical style sounds interesting, I suggest sticking to listening to far superior bands such as Scenic, Acetone, or even Mojave 3 (their debut, anyway) that roam on the same musical plane. Then check back on Rodriguez down the road. This band does have some potential.

Devil in the Woods, P.O. Box 11348, Berkeley, CA 94713;

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