Music Reviews

Straw Dogs

Hum Of The Motor


Here•s something to think about: What if Pink Floyd had recorded their lovely, paisley patterned, yet somewhat soporific 1971 album, Meddle, as a folk album? That was my first impression of Straw Dogs’ latest offering Hum Of The Motor. By the second or third spin, comparisons to James Taylor and a less intense Al Stewart seem more appropriate. On this follow up to Any Place At All (2001) – which earned the band•s core duo of David von Beck and Darren Smith comparison to REM and The Everly Brothers – Straw Dogs stay in the pop/folk/country vein and play it safe all the way with a song-based, melodic guitar sound that•s almost impossible not to like unless your insane or something.

Hum Of The Motor is an exceptionally even-textured album, with no distinct peaks and valleys to distract the listener on a melodically gentle ride. The musicianship is truly head-spinning and the dual vocal harmonies of Von Beck and Smith, well, really do recall the Everly Brothers. The best songs here are “When She Was Good,” “Only Living Here” and “Last Exit” which uses highway exits as a metaphor for being trapped in a cycle of returning over and over to a dysfunctional relationship. I also love the saxophone on “Wired.” Very nicely done. Winner of four Billboard songwriting awards, Straw Dogs make some fine Sunday morning listening

Crafty Records:

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