Local Record Review: Hell and Half of Georgia

Beat Blvd. is Heard Mentality's weekly review of local releases. If you're an OC musician or band with something new to offer--vinyl single, full length album, CD, cassette--we want to hear from you! Send copies, along with any photos and PR material, to Beat Blvd., c/o OC Weekly, 2975 Red Hill Ave., Suite 150, Costa Mesa, CA 92626. You can also e-mail us digital downloads at lbose@ocweekly.com.

Hell and Half of Georgia
Hell and Half of Georgia

Any band with a website name like that has to have their heart in the right place (this is the "Mojo Nixon rule" with regard to whatever Don Henley is involved with). If you head over to that site you'll see news of a forthcoming release from the band after a string of local appearances over the summer, but that's as good a reason to step back and listen to their self-released debut, originally surfacing last year. 

A half-hour collection of eight songs that strike a neat balance between understated reflection and easygoing swing, it's certainly not hyperpolished Nashville--but neither is it ragged alt-country or whatever the term of choice is. 

Instead, songs like "Bellingham" and "In the Way" are engaging, low key performances that rely on good group performances instead of frayed ends for their own sake (occasionally studio chatter aside). 

Sean Fahlen's low singing voice is sometimes more subliminal than easily caught but the choruses rarely let the band down, while the mandolin and slide guitar mix throughout the songs is just the right blend of delicate picking and electric lope. Also, frankly, more bands should name themselves after great hundred-year-old slang terms.

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