The Austin Chronicle

Texas Platters

Reviewed by Doug Freeman, May 4, 2007, Music

Beaver Nelson

Exciting Opportunity (Freedom)

Beaver Nelson's folksy witticism has always held the tenuous line between genuine insight and clichés that are more tried than true. Unfortunately, Exciting Opportunity, the disheveled Dad Who Rocks' seventh album, is more the latter than the former. Plowing familiar terrain alongside longtime collaborator Scrappy Jud Newcomb, Nelson fails to reap any real acumen amid formulaic power-pop ("Lord of All That I Survey") and easy folk-rock balladry ("If You Name a Thing It Dies"). Although the songs are steeped in a comfortable charm, Stephen Bruton's banjo, especially on the title track, provides the only hint of stimulating inspiration. Too often, as with "Humility" and "Perfect String," the songwriting is sacrificed to clever but ultimately shallow rhyme schemes. Nelson undoubtedly still has many excellent songs left in him, but this is hardly The Last Hurrah.


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