Since 1988, the Volebeats have been breathing new life into old ideas. "Solitude," the band's fourth full-length record since 1989's "Ain't No Joke," is built of out a combination of nearly sublime instrumentals followed closely by gorgeous alt-country ballads.
Lead instrumentals "Desert Song" and "Kala" set a somber surfer vibe and provide the disc with its thematic structure. But the ballads make the record. In "Back in a Minute," guitarist-vocalist Matthew Smith recounts, "I loved you/ while you loved someone else/ who was in love with someone else/ who pretended to love me," setting up the melodramatic panorama in which his character can only stare blankly "into infinity."
There's no crowding of the arrangements or garish hustle. Authenticity is on sale, but it's not being hawked at the expense of the Volebeats' sound, which rocks somewhere between the Ventures and Gram Parsons, and hangs on well past the sell-by date.
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