January 10th, 2007

The Dexateens - Hardwire Healing

Hardwire Healing
Alabama’s Dexateens knock one out of the park with their third album Hardwire Healing. The three-guitar quintet remains rooted in the rough-and-tumble rock & roll of the Faces and the Rolling Stones, with a strong undercurrent of outlaw country and some dynamics borrowed from the Southern rock tradition. But the songwriting is key here. Loose rockers like “Makers Mound,” “Naked Ground” and “What Money Means” don’t obscure the melodies under the rush of guitars and energy, and poignant balladry like “Nadine,” “Some Things” and “Downtown” avoids both maudlin sentiment and hipster irony. That the group can fold gritty pop like the speedy “Neil Armstrong” and the acoustic “Own Thing” into the mix without the tunes sounding out of place denotes the consistency of their approach to writing and performing. Songs that draw from tradition without sounding retro—no wonder Drive-By Truckers leader Patterson Hood is a fan (and this album’s producer). Hardwire Healing is rock & roll at its finest. Michael Toland