Beaten Awake are a bunch of blue-collar indie-schmindiers from somewhere in middle America who make mid-paced, mid-range, alternately jangly and distorted rock music that is, based on the evidence of ‘Thunder$troke’, largely forgettable. Produced by Patrick Carney from the Black Keys, their sophomore LP recalls, variously, IRS-era REM, The National, and non-triumphalism period Springsteen, but lacks much of the excitement, intensity or melody that those three acts thrive on. The most frustrating element of this record is Beaten Awake’s studious rejecting of any ambition – plenty of the tracks here contain kernels of epic brilliance, but are never given the space or attention to bloom. Only on the album’s closer, ‘I shot the Mayor, not the Deputy Mayor’, do things really begin to take off, but in truth it’s too little too late.

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