Album Review

Sadies - Tremendous Efforts

Sadies - Tremendous Efforts

How often do we read about artists who claim their work converges country feel with a punk-informed sensibility, only to discover that either their awareness of traditional music is puddle-deep or their attitude is milder than it ought to be? That complaint could never be registered against the Sadies, whose country credentials are beyond reproach, but who invest their best music with a hellbent intensity worthy of the Stooges. Tremendous Efforts is their third long-player (fourth if you include their collaboration with Andre Williams), and it comes closest to capturing the incendiary power of their live act. But the thirteen-song set also comes nearest to conveying how country music was bred in the bone of brothers Dallas and Travis Good (their dad is a member of long-serving Canadian country act the Good Brothers, who guest on the record). Trebly Ennio-Morricone-meets-Merle-Travis instrumentals -- the vibe-enhanced "Pass The Chutney", "Empty The Chamber", and "The Creepy Butler" -- and the jaunty tandem of "Ridge Runner Rag" and "Ridge Runner Rell" build on the quartet's well-established mastery of atmosphere while showcasing the instrumental interplay of the Goods. A trio of covers -- Gun Club's "Mother Of Earth", an off-the-hook take of Elvis' comeback nugget "Loved On Look", and a rootsy reconsideration of the Byrds' rendering of Goffin-King's "Wasn't Born To Follow" -- display the band's expanding range. The best news is their development as songwriters. The haunting "The Last Of The Good", the honky-tonk shuffle "One Million Songs", the deep-blue "120 Miles Per Hour", and the heartbreaking "Before I Wake" (a duet with Dallas and Travis' ma, Margaret) show the Sadies are maturing in both fascinating and thrilling ways, and that their tremendous efforts are well worth it.