SXSW Records


Mr. Sad Clown (429)

Nine albums into a career that's stretched almost 25 years, the BoDeans have lost their edge. Granted, their brand of heartland rock was never that edgy, but counter to the strong showing of 2008's Still, with a few exceptions, the songwriting on Mr. Sad Clown seems forced and lyrically simplistic. As always, the best songs are the ones that Kurt Neumann, an Austin resident, and Sam Llanas, who still calls the band's birthplace of Milwaukee home, sing together. "Shine," with its drive and jangle, and doomsday anthem "Headed for the End of the World" stand with the BoDeans' best work. Then there's the silliness of "Cheesecake Pan" and overly dramatic "All the Blues," which are just painful. Toward disc's end, the shimmering "Almost Ready" and "Back Then" almost save Mr. Sad Clown. Those high points can't turn a frown upside down. (Fri., 6:45pm, Auditorium Shores.)


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