Flight (self-released)



Since the self-loathing smashes by Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, and tra-la-la throwaways from the likes of Smash Mouth and the Bloodhound Gang, it's now taken for granted that no modern rocker can be positive and substantive at once. Just like the old saw that says any act flirting with folk music will inevitably reek of campfires and patchouli. Such dismissive assumptions are why it's so encouraging to hear Austin's Quatropaw go against both grains, to a large degree anyhow, on the local foursome's third release, Flight. The title cut is a good place to start, its Peter Gunn bassline and some nifty echo crafting a close rival to U2's "Elevation" for sheer effusiveness. "Passionate" demonstrates that guitarist and singer Jason Richard can be as zealous about love's transformative powers as Cowboy Mouth's Fred LeBlanc, and his wife Beth's rich contralto spins a yarn of domestic longing on "Rachel's Dream" that Sheryl Crow would do well to duplicate. Elsewhere, "Mile in the Desert" and "Satisfied" comfortably toe the line between overt folk and agile roots rock, and for fun, album closer "Car Stereo Jam" finds bassist Dave Warren and drummer Derek Hatley airing out some of their hip-hop chops. Further winners include the mysterious "Angels" and lithe "Nobody's Home." Neither acoustic nor electric, folk nor funk, Quatropaw continue forging a singular and sunny path, and as the title suggests, may only now be about to soar.


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