Does the world need another hard-twangin’, power-poppin’ alt-country combo? Hey, what magazine you think yer readin’, pal! For its second album, Hangtown (fronted by Ted Lukas, formerly of Tampa, Florida, popsters Barely Pink) whips across the genre like seasoned pros oblivious to the reactionary gripes of armchair oddsmakers and industry doomsayers alike. And if the sound is a familiar one — some Jayhawks-style heartland jangle for “Number’s Not The Same”, a brash Marah-like garage stomp for “Twist Of Faith”, touches of good ol’ Southern roots-rock (Georgia Satellites meets Black Crowes) for “Curbside Blues”, even some Stones riff-crunch for “Less Than Nothing” — nobody’s gonna quibble once they point their ears at the stereo.
Lukas (vocals, guitars, banjo and blooze-harp) is joined by fiery slide guitarist Finn Walling and the gutbucket rhythm section of Aaron Akers (bass) and Mike Anderson (drums). Producer Steve Connelly adds ace pedal steel in all the right places. And though Hangtown doesn’t surprise, it does deliver the satisfying goods in tried-and-tested journeyman fashion.
Things really come together on “Let’s Hide Away”, a radio-friendly, luminous midtempo rocker brimming with vocal harmonies, B3 organ and pedal steel (and owing melodic debts to Tom Petty’s “Refugee” and Bill Miller’s “Raven In The Snow”).