The third record in as many years from this Austin band of brothers, ‘Live Music’ an after hours offering that is drunkenly morose rather than drunkenly raucous. Ryan Sambol takes the lead on guitar, harmonica and piano but always sounds like he’s lost elsewhere, gazing forlornly into a bourbon and soda and slurring across his notes in a pleasingly lubricated honky-tonk fashion. The references are canonical and explicit – mid-Sixties Dylan on ‘Doueh’, Bo Diddley via the Stones on ‘Omnia Boa’, a taste of Tom Waits’ barroom Americana here and the Velvets at their ‘Loaded’-era sunniest there. ‘Live Music’ is stripped-back and classic, but it never really approaches the quality of its forebears, despite being unfailingly tasteful. You end up wanting to step through those saloon swing doors and upturn a few tables, smash up a tray of tumblers – anything to shake them out of their whisky-clouded self-satisfaction.

By Chal Ravens

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