Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Album Review: Dog Years

JULY 27, 1998: 

STORYVILLE

Dog Years (Atlantic)

There is no joy in Storyville, and it's not because Dog Years is a bluesy rock album. No, it's because Dog Years is a listless and soulless bluesy rock album. To complete the kiddy lit allusion, the band didn't strike out - in either sense of the phrase. That would have required an effort that isn't discernible on this album. From the opener, the Will Sexton penned "Enough," Storyville comes out slacking and doesn't pick things up until the occasionally noisy muscle on "Fairplay," all but two tracks shy of the album's end. By that time, though, not even an Al Green cover ("It Ain't No Fun to Me") can redeem this mostly mechanical effort. Even the best groove on Dog Years, "Keep a Handle on It," sounds worn out. And the dulcet acoustic closer, "Lucky (One More Time)," is more than offset by the unintentionally aptly titled, "Don't Make Me Suffer." What's just plain sad more than merely disappointing is how much talent there is in the band that's being left on the bench, so to speak. Storyville has, arguably, Austin's best rhythm section in Chris Layton and Tommy Shannon, and maybe its best rock guitarist in Grissom (whatever happened to the thick, warm, piercing riffs?) Hell, when singer Malford Milligan was in Stick People he did things that put to shame the rote rock-isms that he relies on for Storyville's material. Little of that collective skill is put to effective use on Dog Years. Actually, Dog Years turns out to be an accurate description, as it's an album of veterans dogging it a little too much.

2 Stars - Michael Bertin


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