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Vandoliers (from The Vandoliers available on Amerikinda Records/Soundly Music) (By Lee Zimmerman)
Like most artists and ensembles who can claim the great state of Texas as their home environs, Vandoliers are a sturdy, sure-footed outfit flush with drive, determination, and deliberation. It’s that confidence which is most assuredly revealed in their new, self-titled opus which easily qualifies as one of the high points of their ever-evolving career. A brash and bold manifesto, it rings with a defiance and independence that resonates from practically every offering. Recorded during the plague of the pandemic, it represents a sudden shift in the band’s original intent, but one which makes a strong statement regardless.
That’s immediately evident on album opener “The Lighthouse”, which suddenly explodes with a sonic shout-out that literally leaps out of the speakers. The songs that follow — the joyful “Every Saturday Night”, the dazzling, double-time “Bless Your Drunken Heart”, a rousing “Down and Out”, the sway and swagger of “I Hope Your Heartache’s a Hit”, and the steady stride taken on “Steer Me Wrong” echo that exuberance with both passion and purpose. Taken in tandem, it’s an exhilarating effort from the start to the very end.
Much of that is due to the assertive arrangements, which utilize fiddles, mariachi horns, and, of course, the riveting dynamic of a sturdy rocking and rollicking core combo. Yet, that vibrant approach is embedded within sentiments that remain at the core of each of these compositions, absolutely ensuring a compelling experience overall.
At the heart of it all is a knowing group of musicians who have the ability and wherewithal to carry the sound to a higher level of verve and virtuosity. The energy never falters, and even when they parlay a self-effacing interlude like the tipsy “Too Drunk to Drink” or the album’s good ‘ole boy down-home closer, “Wise County Friday Night”, the humor and happenstance find a fit within the overall Vandoliers vibe.
Suffice it to say, an excellent album by any other name wouldn’t come close to being half as cool. (By Lee Zimmerman)
Listen and buy the music of Vandoliers from AMAZON
For more information and purchase options, please visit Vandoliers website
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