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[Off The Record]
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The Scrimshanders have cut their teeth locally playing regular gigs at small bars like Cambridge’s Plough & Stars. And the energy they bring to their live shows translates well onto Longneck, the bar band’s self-released debut (available at Newbury Comics and from The obvious touchstones here are alterna-country standard bearers Son Volt and Steve Earle: John Magee’s cement-mixer drawl shares the spotlight with distorted bent-note leads over a solid base of clean arpeggios and punchy power chords. Pedal steel and dobro help flesh out the Scrimshanders’ well-worn roots rock.

The band’s themes gravitate toward tried and true alterna-country: broken hearts, broken trust, and just plain being broke. Longneck is marred by the occasional trite lyric ( " There’s no angel prettier than you " ) or generic song title ( " Cheap Wine and Nicotine " ), but " South by Midwest " is a great summer rocker that owes as much to the popcraft of Bryan Adams as it does to the strum and twang of Whiskeytown’s Ryan Adams. And " Dealer’s Choice " recalls Still Feel Gone–era Uncle Tupelo with its surging intro and Tom Baker’s Tweedy-like vocals.


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