Straw Dogs: Love and Then Hope

Seattle’s Straw Dogs tackle just about every sound they can handle on this album’s 14 tracks. The disc’s opener “Lie Awake” is fair enough, but everything takes off in earnest for the second tune, “Could You,” featuring a fairly knotty arrangement that pays off at the choruses. The band teeters between semi-precious songs like “Serious Love” and “Fire Outside,” and more muscular workouts such as “Fallow” and “Down My Hall.” There’s twang a-plenty in these creations, and the group isn’t afraid to wear its love for Americana on its sleeve. It runs a bit long as some of the songs start blending into one another after a while, but what’s here is strong enough for a good overall impression. Had they trimmed away four songs from the disc, they may have had an instant classic. But there’s nothing wrong with the occasional flawed masterpiece. (Crafty Records)

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