Volebeats
(Copyright © 1999 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
Ain't No Joke, 6/10
Up North, 6/10
Sky And The Ocean, 6/10
Solitude , 7.5/10
Mosquito Spiral , 6/10
Robert McCreedy: Streamline , 6/10
Links:

I Volebeats sono un combo di Detroit che esegue il country-rock piu` appassionato che si possa immaginare, infinitamente piu` autentico di Wilco e Son Volt.

Il gruppo e` in circolazione da dieci anni, avendo cominciato con Ain't No Joke (Relapse, 1989). La carriera maggiore ebbe inizio, comunque, con l'album Up North (Safe House, 1994), una raccolta forbita che annoverava Miriam, lo spigliato bluegrass Ten Cars Back, la cadenzata e fatalista Rode Into Town, Something Broken e Please Come See Me, memori della chitarra di Roger McGuinn, della voce di Gram Parsons e delle atmosfere degli Eagles.

L'EP Bittersweet (Third Gear, 1996) fa leva sulla toccante Last Time I Saw Her (prima piccola gemma di Robert McCreedy) e sulla tenera Goodbye.

The Volebeats are a Detroit combo that plays the most passioned country-rock, vastly more personal than Wilco and Son Volt.

The band debuted with the album Ain't No Joke (Relapse, 1989), but their major phase began with Up North (Safe House, 1994), a sophisticated collection of ballads reminiscent of Roger McGuinn's guitar sound, of Gram Parsons' sorrowful vocals and of the Eagles' atmospheric country music. Jeff Oakes and Matthew Smith (also leader of the Outrageous Cherry) write most of the material. They share a (direct or indirect) influence in Bob Dylan: Oakes' martial and fatalistic Rode Into Town has a touch of Bob Dylan's I Want You and Smith's First Time Next Time is a typical "Dylan-ian" elegy. Oakes writes at least one memorable song, the ghastly and romantic Up North (a cross between Neil Young's Harvest and a jug band), but mostly seems happy with more traditional/conventional fare (Please Come See Me, Hope You Know). Smith has three aces: the sadly jangling folk-rock Miriam, the breezy, harmonica-driven country & western paean Rubber Soul, and the funereal dirge Something Broken. McCreedy contributes the the sprightly cowboy dance Ten Cars Back. This is the work of a band that is still maturing, but it already displays songwriting skills that are not easily available elsewhere.

The EP Bittersweet (Third Gear, 1996) adds the moving Last Time I Saw Her (first little gem by Robert McCreedy) and the tender Goodbye.

Su Sky And The Ocean (Safe House, 1997) Jeff Oakes (canto), Matthew Smith (chitarra) e Bob McCreedy (chitarra ritmica) conducono il combo sulle tracce della ballata malinconica da "loser" (Somewhere In My Heart), della ballata agrodolce da "loner" (It's Alright), della ballata innamorata da amante incompreso (Don't I Wish), della ballata epica da ribelle (Diamonds, Dead Of Winter), e cosi` via, spazzolando tutti gli stereotipi del genere. Su tutto brillano i due capolavori di McCreedy: Sky And The Ocean, un brano atmosferico alla Chris Isaak con un twang di chitarra da colonna sonora western, e Two Seconds, una malinconica ballata con un pudico jingle-jangle alla Byrds. Il loro cuore sta negli anni '50 e il disco non e` altro che un nostalgico tributo a quell'era (compreso il rockabilly scatenato di Warm Weather).

Robert McCreedy's talent bloomed on Sky And The Ocean (Safe House, 1997), writing both the two standout tracks: Sky And The Ocean, an atmospheric track in the vein of Chris Isaak with a twang worthy of a western movie soundtrack, and Two Seconds, a melancholy ballad enhanced with a modest jingle-jangle. Other than that, Oakes and Smith lead the combo through sad and depressed "loser" ballads (Somewhere In My Heart), sweet and sour "loner" ballads (It's Alright), romantic "rejected lover" ballads (Don't I Wish), and epic "rebel" ballads (Diamonds, Dead Of Winter), thereby revisiting stereotypes of a century. Their heart seems to beat stronger when the sound echoes the 1950's, so much so that one could view the entire album as a tribute to that era (including the breakneck rockabilly Warm Weather).
(Translation by/ Tradotto da Walter Consonni) I sempre imprevedibili Volebeats fanno rotta verso la musica surf, i ritmi world e le colonne sonore sullo splendido Solitude (Safe House, 1999), un lavoro volubile e filosofico che probabilmente rappresenta il raggiungimento dell'apice della loro carriera. Matthew Smith e Bob McCreedy pizzicano le corde delle loro chitarre facendole riverberare e risuonare secondo il loro marchio di fabbrica, la cui ipnotica bontà rappresenta la metà dell'opera; l'altra metà è data dall'abilità nel comporre superbe melodie. Questa è una schizofrenica raccolta di brani alternativamente strumentali e cantati. I primi costituiscono un album a sè stante, una raccolta di brani strumentali evocativi che forniscono una sorta di colonna sonora immaginaria. Desert Song e Blue Green posseggono un feeling pigro, sognante e solare, mezzo spaghetti-western e mezzo psichedelia sudista. Aggiungete un bolero gitano (Kala), un epico rave-up surf (Speed Boat) ed un paio di vignette lmpressioniste (in modo particolare Moon Beams), ed avrete un compendio della musica strumentale americana bianca. Quello che rende queste esplorazioni di generi così vive è il puntello "noir", il fatalistico timbro delle chitarre, l'andamento sepolcrale, il colorito alquanto pieno degli arrangiamenti.
Per coronare il loro capolavoro, il cantante Jeff Oakes sciorina una manciata di ballate appassionate e romantiche, suonate con la grazia e l'eleganza dei madrigali rinascimentali e sostenute da melodie semplicemente memorabili: Beautiful Night è un motivo vecchio stile alla maniera delle tenere cantilene degli Everly Brothers; Just As You Are Beautiful è una lamentazione secondo lo stile dei REM; Shannon richiama alla mente il jingle-jangle dei primi, esuberanti Byrds; Back In A Minute è un dipinto di desolazione (si immagini una via di mezzo tra A Day In The Life di John Lennon e Suzanne di Leonard Cohen ); e Lonely Way To Go è un requiem maestoso eseguito con violoncello ed organo nello stile "Grecia antica che incontra il gotico inglese" che ricorda Nico.
Talvolta "antiquato" è sinonimo di immortale.
The ever unpredictable Volebeats steer towards surf music, world beat and movie soundtracks on the magnificent Solitude (Safe House, 1999), a moody and philosophical work that is probably the crowning achievement of their career. Matthew Smith and Bob McCreedy caress the chords of their guitars with their trademark reverbs and twangs, whose hypnotic quality is half of the story here; the other half being a knack for superb melodies. This is a schizophrenic collection that alternates between instrumental and sung tracks. The former compose an album of their own, an album of evocative instrumental tracks that provide a sort of imaginary movie soundtrack. Desert Song and Blue Green have a lazy, dreamy, sunny feeling, half spaghetti-western and half southern psychedelia. Add a gypsy bolero (Kala), an epic surf rave-up (Speed Boat) and a couple of impressionistic vignettes (notably Moon Beams), and you have a summary of white American instrumental music. What makes these genre excursions so poignant is the "noir" underpinning, the fatalistic tone of the guitars, the funereal pace, the somewhat stark coloring of the arrangement.
To cap their masterpiece, singer Jeff Oakes delivers a bunch of intense and romantic ballads, played with the grace and elegance of renaissance madrigals and propelled by plainly memorable singalong melodies: Beautiful Night is an old fashioned tune in the vein of the Everly Brothers' tender lullabies; Just As You Are Beautiful is a solemn REM-style lament; Shannon recalls the early, exuberant jingle-jangling Byrds; Back In A Minute is a painting of desolation (imagine a cross between John Lennon's A Day In The Life and Leonard Cohen's Suzanne); and Lonely Way To Go is a majestic reqiuem delivered with cello and organ in an "ancient Greece meets British gothic" manner reminiscent of Nico.
Sometimes old-fashioned means immortal.
(Translation by/ Tradotto da xxx)

Se sei interessato a tradurre questo testo, contattami

Alas, McCreedy left the Volebeats and moved to Minnesota just after the release of the album, while Matt Smith concentrated on his other band, Outrageous Cherry. The last album with that classic line-up, Mosquito Spiral (Blue Rose, 2000 - Third Gear, 2001), is a collection of mostly folk-rock ballads that sound terribly old-fashioned compared with the previous collection. The breezy REM-ish epic of Voles in NYC redeems the conventional country sound of Radio Flyer and Feel The Same. Tether is only the new installment of McCreedy's obsession with McGuinn's guitar sound.

Robert McCreedy's first solo, Streamline (Safe House, 2001), is basically the continuation of Solitude: the same soulful harmony, the same passionate calm, the same tactful arrangements, the same melodic talent. With the notable exception of Float Away, it is more removed from the traditional than the Volebeats records. Moreover, echoes of Bob Dylan permeate most of the collection, both because of McCreedy's tone of voice and because of riffs borrowed from Dylan classics. This is not to say that the music is not personal: this is McCreedy's show even when (the intense and tender Holding On or the soothing and nostalgic Gone Again) Dylan's influence is stronger. The devil is in the details. While superficially related, McCreedy has a completely different way to tell his stories and a completely different way to arrange them: what makes Gone Again the charming nut it is is the barely discernible touches of accordion and mandolin. There can never be too much of these discrete, elegant touches. Superb orchestrations highlight the plaintive Down (tremulous organ phrases, grand piano, cello). The lead-off track, the robust, sprightly folk-rock of Diana, is a little misleading because it evokes a Tom Petty with bluegrass mandolin, which is not what comes later, but it may point to a "poppier" sound to come with future releases. One more thing McCreedy has in common with Dylan: he pours his heart into each of his songs.

The Volebeats recruited guitarist John Nash to replace McCreedy.

What is unique about this music database