Slim Cessna's Auto Club

The Bloudy Tenent Truth and Peace (Alternative Tentacles)

To see Slim and company live is to love them, but the act's previous studio recordings, though entertaining, haven't truly captured the fun and frenzy Cessna is capable of generating on stage. The Bloudy Tenent Truth and Peace comes up a bit short in this respect, too, but it offers ample compensation via solid songwriting, clever arrangements and performances that make the band seem at home with a larger range of styles.

The modifications represent evolution, not radical change. "Cranston" finds a middle ground between traditionalism and modernism by juxtaposing C&W rhythms with fuzz-tone guitar, while "Jackson's Hole" avoids the combo's trademark jokiness, which can sometimes seem strained on plastic, 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 simultaneously 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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