Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Review: Backyard Tire Fire - The Places We Lived (* * * 1/2)

If there wasn't an existing genre called southern-rock-indie-pop before now, Backyard Tire Fire has created it. Like Wilco or Spoon with a southern twist, BTF has a love for catchy choruses and off-beat lyrics, throwing in a little twang and some fuzzy guitar solos (a la Lynyrd Skynyrd) for good measure.

"The Places We Lived" starts things of well with a couple pop tunes, especially "Shoulda Shut It," which might be my favorite track on the album. After that though, the results are a little spotty. "Everybody's Down," and "Time With You" are decent songs but they aren't especially interesting, and "How In the Hell Did You Get Back Here?" sounds like a Drive-by Truckers b-side. Things pick up again with the boogie-woogie stomp of "One Wrong Turn," and stay solid throughout the rest of the album, closing with the strings-laced "Home Today."

Though at times uneven, "The Places We Lived" is an indie album that combines some great ideas and makes for a fun listen. It's offbeat and odd, but always purposefully so, and at a brief 34 minutes, it doesn't try your patience. Backyard Tire Fire seem like they haven't settled on exactly what kind of music they want to make or what kind of band they want to be, and that's not a bad thing for now.