Album Reviews

Music You Don't Know You Like Yet

ERNIE AND THE AUTOMATICS

LOW EXPECTATIONS

2009-04-01

This six piece Boston based band has a pedigree that includes two former original members of the rock band Boston and a member of Peter Wolf’s House Party 5. So does the pedigree translate into something worth the listen? Well, it depends on what you are looking for. If you’re looking for straight blues then the pedigree doesn’t accomplish much: the blues appear only in "Back Around", which has the same swampy feel as some of Omar and the Howler’s early work. But, there’s plenty of other good music here. "The Good Times (Never Last)" and "I’m Gonna Haunt You" feature big Boston style guitar flourishes and layered vocals. "If I’d a Let You" is a funky R & B number while "Tappin’ On an Empty Head" and "Let It Go" feature tasty saxophone driven grooves. "Blues Town" is about the blues but plays more like rock while the title cut is the definition of the blues with lyrics sung from the point of view of someone so down and out that that low expectations of him by others are the best thing going for him. A bit of hope enters the picture on the soulful "The Best is up Ahead" where asking what else could go wrong is nothing but an invitation for trouble but the future nevertheless holds some promise. The two instrumentals on the disc play to opposite ends of the spectrum with "Hong Kong Shuffle" being all brawn and muscle while "Fly in the Milk" hits a lighter jazzy groove. Good, but file under rock. Smitty

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