Dixie Witch

Record review

Texas Platters

Dixie Witch

Smoke & Mirrors (Small Stone)

The cream rises to the top. That's the theory, at least. A band enters the studio with a shitload of new songs, records as many as possible, and after mixing, mastering, etc., the best tracks make the cut. This only works, of course, when culling from a hefty batch. That's the issue with Dixie Witch's third LP – wanting for enough good songs to make a good album. It's particularly frustrating since Smoke & Mirrors sports only several worthy songs, though fans of the trio's muscular live show will love the timbre. The band's never sounded better. Opener "Set the Speed" is the band's to-date acme, and closer "Last Call" – with its orbital guitar solo, whirly keyboards, and halftime cadence – smolders like a hard rockin' tribute to Funkadelic's "Maggot Brain." "Gunfight" and "Thursday" imply that the former Metroplexers-now-Slackervillians have enjoyed Motörhead of late, yet the key of these songs is a step or so too high. Proto-vintage Kiss imbues "Shoot the Moon," while "Out in the Cold" displays in-the-making arena skills. But that's all she wrote. Without more and better hooks, structures, choruses, etc., these 11 tracks topple like an overstuffed EP.

**

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