Wicked Twisted Road
First Appeared in The Music Box, March 2005, Volume 12, #3
Written by John Metzger
On its latest effort Wicked Twisted Road, Reckless Kelly continues its collaboration with producer Ray Kennedy — the other half of the twangtrust — so it’s certainly no surprise that the band once again appropriates Steve Earle’s classic, country-rock sound. Although many critics have faulted Reckless Kelly for following so closely in the footsteps of its heroes, the fact of the matter is that the union worked extraordinarily well on its last outing Under the Table and Above the Sun, and with songs like the jangly bounce of Broken Heart and the quiet reflectiveness of the title track (as well as its sparkling instrumental reprise), the ensemble proves that its successes weren’t a fluke. Beneath the surface, however, Wicked Twisted Road finds the collective broadening its horizons and revealing a bit more of itself. Although it still employs Earle’s tried-and-true, alt-country framework as the foundation for many of its compositions, there are hints that its vision is, in actuality, a bit more expansive. For starters, the group whips Sixgun into a raging ZZ Top-style, Texas-baked boogie, and it adds a dose of Celtic flavor to Seven Nights in Eire. Elsewhere, it fuses Neil Young, Pink Floyd, and The Byrds into a weird, psychedelic concoction on Motel Cowboy Show, and delves into Wretched Again with all the blustery swagger of the Rolling Stones. The problem, however, is that these new directions really don’t amount to much that is memorable. Instead, they serve as passionately performed distractions that simply fail to match the sublime precision with which Reckless Kelly embraces Earle’s knack for blurring the lines between country, rock, and pop. As a result, much of Wicked Twisted Road isn’t nearly as compelling as Under the Table and Above the Sun, nor do its contents feel as cohesive and connected. ˝
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1 Star: Pitiful
2 Stars: Listenable
3 Stars: Respectable
4 Stars: Excellent
5 Stars: Can't Live Without It!!
Copyright © 2005 The Music Box