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Front Country - Other Love Songs (Organic Records)

San Francisco Bay's 'roots pop' five-piece Front Country add a further dozen selections to their repertoire with this their second album, which for the most part showcases the songwriting credentials of singer Melody Walker, whose assured delivery sparkles throughout the album. Soulful, gritty and determined, Melody lives up to her name with some of her finest songs to date, songs such as I Don't Wanna Die Angry, Keep Travelin' and the superb opener If Something Breaks, whilst breathing new life and energy into the Carter Family's 1920s staple Storms Are On the Ocean to great effect. Anyone who has caught the band live will know their instrumental workouts are of a high standard of musicianship creative flair and here Adam Roszkiewicz's The Humpback and the Sloth (or T.H.A.T.S.) demonstrates inventiveness in spades.The band's combined voices can be best heard a cappella on Walker's highly personal Good Side, which is imbued with a distinctly gospel feel. For Undone, Walker playfully borrows from the novelty song There's a Hole in My Bucket, which in effect demonstrates her confident approach to songwriting. 
 
Allan Wilkinson
Northern Sky