To see Slim Cessna and company live is to love them, but the act's studio recordings, though entertaining, haven't truly captured the fun and frenzy Cessna is capable of generating onstage. The band's latest, The Bloudy Tenent Truth and Peace, comes up a bit short in this respect, too, but it offers ample compensation through solid songwriting, clever arrangements, and performances that make the band seem at home with a larger range of styles.
The modifications on Truth represent evolution, not radical change for Cessna. "Cranston" finds a middle ground between traditionalism and modernism by juxtaposing country-and-western rhythms with fuzz-tone guitar. "Jackson's Hole" avoids the combo's trademark jokiness, which can sometimes seem strained on wax, without gutting its personality. Best of all is the closing combination of "Providence, New Jerusalem," an evocative ballad marked by nary a wink, and "He, Roger Williams," a barn-burner of a tune that nods to gospel, rock, and heaven knows what else, as it salutes and satirizes the Puritan flag-bearer name-checked in its title. Instead of attempting to reproduce the experience of witnessing the band in concert, Tenent successfully translates it for home, office, and motor-vehicle use. This is one Club worth joining.
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