It's tough to find moments on Liars & Outliers where 4H Royalty frontman Zach Boddicker takes himself and his music too seriously: As on the outfit's last two albums, there is plenty here in the way of levity. That light mood comes in the airy titles and lyrics of tunes like "(whatever happened to) What's-Her-Name" and "The Shape of Karaoke to Come," and it's heightened by Boddicker's distinctive country singing style, which never cleaves too closely to a formal melody. When he delivers lines like "I'm speaking to you as a friend/Your team sucks and they're never gonna win," the mood veers between earnest confession and surreal comedy routine. But Boddicker, the former guitarist for Drag the River, finds moments for some creative weight. The dizzying country-guitar runs on "Gas Cap Rag" are no joke, and the minor-blues mood of "Moving to the Country" is polished and refined. Such moments of depth and heart help balance the album's goofier moments.
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December 5, 2013 | 4:00am|