The Austin Chronicle

ACL Live Shots

Reviewed by Greg Beets, October 3, 2008, Music

The M's

Sunday, Sept. 28, Zilker Park

One way to quantify success on the Austin Ventures stage is by the number of people stopped in their tracks on the way to the chicken-cone stand. With only seconds to make an impression, unfamiliar acts have to hit swiftly or be swallowed. The M's boasted an affable enough sound that mined late-1960s psychedelia crossed with emergent 1970s glam. Unfortunately, the Chicago quartet (augmented by a keyboardist) never managed to garner anything more than polite applause. The most memorable songs off this year's Real Close Ones are driven by an almost quaint, slice-of-life sensibility that didn't translate well in the noonday sun. "Ultraviolent Men" came closest to lighting a spark, if only because it was easy to imagine as an angular outlaw country anthem. The R&B bent of "Shawnee Dupree" and bumper sticker sloganeering of "Get Your Shit Together" also had flight potential, but the M's over-reliance on pedal-happy languor undermined their lift.

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