The Coffee Sergeants

Texas Platters

The Coffee Sergeants

Consolation Has No Phone... (Monkey's Paw) There's few surprises on this disc, but one doesn't turn to the Coffee Sergeants for surprises. After more than a dozen years on the Austin scene, Carey Bowman's outfit has outlived many of their peers, and they've used the time to finally hone their distinctive sound. They continue as ever to produce sets of moody, evocative music in the R.E.M. vein (minus Michael Stipe's obtrusiveness schtick). Like many Austin acts, the Sergeants fly the flag of the 13th Floor Elevators, but in a comparatively subtle manner. Gently psychedelic, the Sergeants' tunes can't be called cheery by any stretch of the imagination, as titles like "Falling Down," "Blue All Down the Line," and the title track make clear, but in their own way, they still manage to be as comforting (yet haunting) as Grandma's old shawl. Things occasionally rock a bit harder, as on "Aunt Virginia," co-written by former Doctors' Mob member Jimmy Dolouisio, providing just enough variety to save the set from too much sameness. Mostly though, Consolation Has No Phone... is business as usual for the Coffee Sergeants -- and it's nice to be able to look forward to a cup every few years.

*** 

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