Denton's Ryan Thomas Becker stirs many pots, but RTB2, his long-running duo with drummer Grady Don Sandlin, results in the most satisfying stew. The pair's second full-length and fifth overall, 2 motors on two things: the musicians' telepathic interplay and Becker's songwriting excellence. The twosome burns on ass-kicking rockers "Wire to the Walls" and "God Will Be the One to Blame," but shines brightest when negotiating the jagged angles of "Brownstar," Becker's cleanly picked riffs locked into Sandlin's nimble bash-n-crash. Elsewhere, "Goon," "32," and "Another Black Beauty" turn on Becker's distinctive ability to mesh Sixties R&B and heartland folk rock with Captain Beefheart-like twists, skewing left when you expect them to go straight and keeping your cochlea on its toes. Challenging enough to require time spent, but shot through with memorable melodies and soulful rock & roll verve, 2 rolls like thunder and aches with heart.
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