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Wednesday, July 6, 2005

¡Americano!

Posted By on Wed, Jul 6, 2005 at 12:00 AM

In the lazy parlance of 21st century rock snobbery, “Americana” means “literate rock with a folk-country waft.” Not only is that definition unfair, it’s un-American, because it excludes the ground-level, grab-what-you-can rock band from the equation, a cornerstone of country music since Ritchie Valens recorded “Come On Let’s Go” in 1958. ¡Americano! is Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers’ fourth album, and it’s aptly titled. It showcases the Arizona band moving deftly between the easygoing album rock of “Leaky Little Boat” and “Loco to Stay Sane”; the wry trumpet and accordion-flavored “Mexican Moonshine”; the title track’s strident, evocative guitar pop; and the storytelling “Counterclock-wise,” where Clyne becomes a John Mellencamp for the Southwest. (The latter’s also bolder than anything Mellencamp’s written in years.) ¡Americano! is caked in yellow, sometimes wanting, and angry at least once. On “Love, Come Lighten My Load,” it’s as boundless as the sound carrying from a Saturday night bandstand. Its best moment might be “Switchblade.” Like a great short story it’s powerfully visual — devils and dust drift through its words. But it’s plaintive in its twining chords and deliberate percussion, as musical as it is lyrical. For Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, Americana is experienced, not assumed.

Johnny Loftus writes about music for Metro Times. E-mail letters@metrotimes.com.

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