Rock doesn't have to aspire. It's just fine hanging out in a bar at two in the afternoon, sipping beer, and watching Oprah. Austin-based Li'l Cap'n Travis realizes this, and revels gleefully in boozy derivations of classic and country rock on its third album, ... In All Their Splendor.
Of the band's six members, only the drummer doesn't take a turn fronting the mic, lending LCT the diversity of a veteran cover band, but one that actually plays originals, makes sure not to practice too much, and has no rules against drinking before, during, or after the show. In fact, this album could be a drunk's diary. The easy island breeziness of "Steady as She Goes," a languid song filled with pedal steel guitar and marimba, feels like a morning's first stretch before a full day of nothing. "3.2 Beer of Love," a Cracker-ish Southern rock tune that compares crappy relationships to a low-alcohol beverage, kicks up the pace with a bit of distortion. By the time you hit the appropriately Garth Brooks-like country shuffle of "Bar Full of Fans," you'll be ready to sing along with the chorus (fittingly, She's got a bar full of fans) while doing a sloppy two-step. And finally, as with any robust day of drinking, you'll inevitably descend into a maudlin reminiscence of sneaking out to meet an old junior high sweetheart, as on the sugary indie pop tune "Swimming Pool."
Not that you haven't heard all this before. The band does a dead-on Crazy Horse imitation with "Throw Off the Reins," and the syrupy piano ballad "Teenage Mustache" has been recorded in some form a thousand times before, though perhaps never in such a blessedly brief manner (the tune clocks in at 1:27). But like drinking yourself sick, you never tire of the classics.
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