With no turn missed and no stone left unturned, melodic hard rockers from Arizona go for the lucky seven.
It’s been 13 years since this band – basically a duo now, comprised of multi-instrumentalist Brett Richey and singer Pat Laferty – delivered a record, but maybe the devil’s dozen of timespans have been required to prepare their seventh album. A strong offering, with the title so ironic with regards to the group’s style, “The Road Not Taken” was worth the wait, though, because familiar route is sometimes more enjoyable than exploration of the unknown that pushed so many artists to the wayside, while the Arizona pair persevered.
It’s AOR to the core, but don’t be fooled by deceptive simplicity of “Going Through The Motions” where riffs are highly infectious, or by the equally catchy “Playing My Guitar” where funky strokes are ever so delicate. Yes, the record can be deliberately retro, what with the boogie chords that drive “Digital Ocean (1974)” until six-string stacks behind “Don’t Take It For Granted” make it all so transparent, and with an acoustic folk thread in “Waiting For You” which would solidify towards a chorus before delicious vocal polyphony is unfurled into an impressive tapestry. Yet there’s an occasional raw sonic spot which gets tempered with chamber-like strings, as opener “The Other Side Of Town (Jesus)” demonstrates – mapping out the distance, rather than preaching piety, to the tender finale of “Far Be It From Me” – although this lyrical layer doesn’t take long to come to the fore in the title track whose rippling piano lulls silken, soulful voice and muscular twang.
This road may have been taken over and over, but that can’t diminish its appeal.