It’s tough not to admire a band like the Volebeats. With
their crystalline harmonies, unobtrusive melodies and retro sensibilities, they
sound both fresh and familiar all at the same time. In an earlier era, they
might have been the darlings of Laurel Canyon’s singer/songwriter enclave,
their breezy folk/country leanings finding a comfortable fit with the likes of
the Byrds, CSN, Jackson, Joni and other denizens of that laidback ‘70s scene.
Nowadays, their mellow musings seem somewhat innocent and idyllic in the midst
of today’s frenetic pace, but as a pleasant respite, one couldn’t ask for more.
The problem, however, lies with the abundance of riches
within this gentle, lush self-titled set. With nineteen tunes, many of them
overlapping with the same dreamy desire, it’s hard to find a breakout track in
the midst of the sweet serenity purveyed through this album overall. It’s hard
to quibble when every song satisfies, but it will likely take repeated hearings
before individual tracks shine through. That said, the lovely counterpoint
harmonies of “Dream Come True,” the shimmering pedal of “Kathleen No” and a
sumptuous take on Ray Davies’ “This Is Where I Belong” create an endearing
first impression. There are also instant contenders among the handful of
rockers that make more of an attempt at revelry, “You’re Wrong” and “I Can
Tell” being the most prominent.
After 22 years, the Volebeats are among the most unappreciated
entities in rock, a band that rarely makes a misstep and yet somehow escapes
the attention of tastemakers and the paisley populace they aim for. Regardless,
five years on from their last outing, the Volebeats happily are as embracing as
Come True,” “This Is Where I Belong,” “Kathleen No” LEE ZIMMERMAN