New Heathens

Review: Country Standard Time

From Country Standard Time, June 2010

On Only Gets Better, lead singer Nate Schweber lists all the wonderful things that help you get through the tough times, from eating ice cream and Playstation 3 to wearing corduroys and masturbating. You can also add listening to "Hello Disaster" to those joy-producing activities; pleasures abound on the New York City-based band's Eric "Roscoe" Ambel-produced sophomore album.

Strong songwriting, led by Schweber, is chief among the band's assets. Only Gets Better is but one fine example of Schweber's ability to pen memorable songs that connect through details that merge scruffy smarts, humor and heartstring tugging. Songs such as Crybaby, Bastard Like Me and Proud Highway certainly reflect the swell seasoning of the Montana native's musical heroes, including Steve Earle, The Backsliders and Warren Zevon. Guitarists Domenick Tiziano and Butch Phelps also contribute solid senders in 27 Years and Pig Pen respectively.

"Hello Disaster's" delights, however, are not limited to songwriting. The 11 songs offer a good amount of variety, from the ringing-in-the-60's garage pop of Don't Think I Can't Stop (Just Because I Don't) to the harmonica-driven folk of Thankless War and showcase a talented band that simply sounds like it's having a hell of a good time. So will you. -- Andy Turner

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