Centro-Matic Reviewed

Centro-Matic Reviewed


Love You Just the Same (Misra) This is it, the one that finally takes Centro-matic beyond the borders of the Lone Star State that frontman Will Johnson has systematically conquered. Does the seventh Centro-matic full-length since 1997 deliver the goods we've come to expect from the most consistently enthralling band in Texas? Yes and no. First, the yes. "Biology Tricks" stutter-steps before soaring on the harmonic coaster rides, 75% Johnson and 25% keyman Scott Danbom, that are the band's forte. On "Reset Anytime," drummer extraordinaire Matt Pence -- who also engineered the album -- knows exactly how to pepper Johnson's prolix, sour-mash treatises like "so mythical with your halcyon afternoons." "Supercar" and "Without You" are further extensions of Johnson's slo-mo gravitas. "Mighty Midshipman" chugs confidently like homemade peach ice cream before loosing a screaming cheetah of a solo that reads like a postcard from Neil Young. It's "Flashes and Cables," however, that may be the band's finest moment to date. Johnson and his acoustic guitar set the sad, brooding stage for the arrival of the "bastards," heralded by Pence's thumping hexagrams, Danbom's ivory pirouettes, and Johnson's chunky chord carnations. Rinse, lather, repeat, and tack on the catchiest "ba-bada-ba-bam" outro imaginable, and you have four minutes of perfection. Yet, Love You Just the Same lacks both the fist-pumping spunk of 2001's Distance and Clime and the harrowing intimacy of Johnson's solo work and South San Gabriel project. Still, Love You Just the Same holds enough moments of glory to cement former Funland drummer Johnson a spot alongside Don Henley and Dave Grohl in the skinsman-turned-main-man hall of fame.


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Centro-Matic, Will Johnson

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