Soledad Brothers

Voice of Treason
(Sanctuary)

Detroit's Soledad Brothers -- named after the three African-American inmates of California's Soledad Prison who were convicted of killing a guard there in 1970 -- layer the faux-revolutionary shtick a little thick on Voice of Treason, their third studio album. The reach for meaning is endemic to the roots-fixated garage-blues scene over which lead Soledad Johnny Walker's buddy Jack White presides; consider White's contributing songs to the Civil War flick Cold Mountain, or Jon Spencer's hiring au courant beatsmiths to help produce his latest. Still, the Soledads' self-alignment with a complicated struggle against entrenched power conjures a little more weight than their scrappy, defiantly mid-fi roadhouse rock can support. I mean, do guys in prison really care about out-of-print Mitch Ryder singles? When they lighten up, the Soledads make a vinegary dead-leaves racket: "Cage That Tiger" sounds caked with fuzz, its paper-bag drums battling Walker's guitar for air; and the jittery "I'm So Glad" is Clinic with mittens on. Acoustic, slide-kissed closer "Lorali" is lovely enough to make Jude Law and Nicole Kidman not mind sleeping in a burlap sack, but so was a tune written by Sting.

 
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