BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Credit Ian McLagan for continuing the trajectory initiated some five decades back with the Small Faces and later, the Faces, and also for maintaining a viable solo career that’s made him a mainstay of the Austin music scene. His new effort, recorded with the ever-reliable Bump Band, more or less affirms the MO he established early on – simple, concise and unassuming songs delivered with a reliable mix of tenacity and humility.
As a keyboardist, McLagan’s not the smoothest singer – he sounds similar to Ron Wood and Keith Richards on those occasions when they take over the microphone – but he succeeds by default, whether deadpanning a smooth croon on “Mean Old World” or crowing with conviction on “Love Letter” and “Who Says It Ain’t Love.” The best songs show some spunk – the bouncy “Pure Gold,” the reggae lilt of “Who Says It Ain’t Love” and the giddy “Shalalala,” among those that offer the ear candy.
All in all, United States demonstrates McLagan’s allegiance to a pure pop mantra.
DOWNLOAD: “Love Letter,” “Who Says It Ain’t Love,” “Shalalala”