Hardwire Healing-The Dexateens 

(Skybucket)

From the first note of their third album, Hardwire Healing, it might seem like Tuscaloosa's Dexateens are patterning themselves after the Drive-By Truckers. Their guitars let loose the same sort of Southern-rock boogie, and Elliott McPherson and John Smith sing with the same unapologetic twang. But don't let those similarities fool you: With more than eight years behind them, the Dexateens are their own band. "Some Things" is dirty Southern country-soul; "Downtown," a melancholic pop song that Elliott Smith could have written. The five-piece get a little goofy to make a serious point on "Neil Armstrong," and the three guitars scrap furiously with each other on "Makers Mound" and "Fyffe." What other band could sell a line like, "How's the Crimson Tide gonna cleanse me by and by?" without it sounding like fightin' words? -- Stephen Deusner

Grade: A-

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