Saturday, March 25, 2000
A killer photo as cover art and an awesome, fiddly version of Come Dancing aside, The Punters' new disc is essentially straight-ahead Canuck light rock with enough hints of Celtic to make it familiar.
There's not much groundbreaking here, but the soil is rich enough for an OK harvest. When they let loose with the reels, like on Never Been There Before or a rocker like Candlelight & Wine, you can hear the band's varied roots, and it's a good mix that keeps this disc from being tiring.
But it's still a little too internally the same, and that robs it of full credits. This is sadly an album designed for CMT, there's no question. It's full of sentimentality, slow beats and easy singing. Sort of like a lot of today's country.
Take Will You Wait, a great song lost inside a merely good one. Larry Foley sings close to the passion of, say, a heartbreaking Spirit of the West tune, but not all the way there.
You can argue, "So what? They're not the same band!" But the potential is there, and that's the point. You just keep waiting for the tune to crank up and it never does, a problem in more than one place on the album. Then again, Candlelight & Wine makes up for it, and has hit written all over it.
This is a good band, and an OK CD. Say hello to them. They deserve it.
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