Music Reviews
The Alternate Routes

The Alternate Routes

A Sucker’s Dream

Vanguard Records

The Alternate Routes blew away alt-country fans with their debut, Good and Reckless and True back in 2007. Now they are back with the follow-up A Sucker’s Dream, which finds the band figuring out the meaning of generic, with a couple of great tracks sprinkled in.

The opener “On and On We Whisper” kicks up the rock and intensity with lead singer Tim Warren all but screaming “Tell me what road you’re on/ Maybe we could meet.” After that it’s really hit-and-miss.

“Ain’t No Secret” is a mid-tempo decent song, but there’s nothing to make it stand out. And that’s the first step in mid-tempo dredge. “All That I See,” “All a Dream,” “Quiet Highway Road,” and “Never Gonna Be Rich” are all plodding, boring and completely skippable tracks.

They do redeem themselves on the boot-kickin’ “Toe the Line” and the stellar “The New Song.” They also experiment slightly with a more syncopated rhythm and heavier beat on the lead single “The Future’s Nothing New.” It’s a refreshing change from the rest of the album, which pushes right into the generic realm.

A Sucker’s Dream shows The Alternate Routes in a sophomore slump. Their debut was a stellar piece of alt-country, and The Watershed EP, which was released between the two albums, was also fraught with emotion. But with the opener teasing listeners into believing that they’re going to go all-out rock this album, this is a disappointment. They got stuck in the adult contemporary mode instead of alt-country, or rock, or both. It’s only their second album, but let’s hope on their next album, they remember how they started out – and not where they are now.

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