Dolly Varden lacks a Dolly and a Varden, but that seems to be beside the point. At a time when droves of alternative-country bands are cashing in -- with results as appetizing as a whiff of a 7-11 microwave -- Dolly Varden comes through with an album as refreshing as Uncle Tupelo's early efforts.
The band detours through some interesting and difficult-to-pigeonhole territory. "Lucky 23" is a straightforward-country approach, slow and methodical with a soothing melody and a fuzzed backward guitar that flirts with audibility. Similarly down-tempoed and tweaked, "Sunflower Drag" sticks some interesting Beatle influences into the mix.
Still, Dolly Varden know how to whoop it up -- a little. Tracks like "Dangerously Thin," "First Class Blackout" and "I Can't Wait Anymore," though hardly barn-burners, certainly will set toes tapping. There's enough for spirited dancing, and sometimes that's all it takes.
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