Weekly Wire
Austin Chronicle Reverb Deluxe

By Christopher Gray

NOVEMBER 17, 1997: 

THE DERAILERS

Reverb Deluxe (Sire/Watermelon)

The Derailers have, more than once, been called the future of country music -- from writers at this newspaper on up to Sire boss Seymour Stein. That's a much more comforting thought than, say, Black Hawk, but it's misleading. First of all, Reverb Deluxe is much more about the recent past than the future, as its 15 songs are hardly just now seeing the light of day. "Just One More Time," "Lover's Lie," "Tears in Your Eyes," and the rest have been staples of the band's live sets since at least last year, and could well date back to when they packed Continental Club happy hours months before even 81/2 Souvenirs swung out of the gate. More importantly -- and curiously similar to the current Nashville party line -- is that they're country only because people say so. Reverb Deluxe comes off as more homage to Ricky Nelson, Buddy Holly, and the Everlys than to Buck and Merle. And despite their obvious West Coast lineage (epitomized by a not-so-subtle nod to the Beach Boys in the eminently Buck-like "California Angel"), they've been around Texas long enough to assimilate both the twin-fiddle Western swing of "I Don't Believe I'll Fall in Love Today" and the glittery swamp pop of "No One to Talk to but the Blues." And if all it takes to make Prince's "Raspberry Beret" (originally intended for Do Me Baby!) "country" is a little steel guitar, then, well, it's country (nice bass vamp for "country," though). Local proof that arbitrary genre boundaries mean less and less with each passing year, Reverb Deluxe is a fine record for jukeboxes and dance floors everywhere, and whether it's called country, pop, or rock & roll -- or all of the above -- that's not going to change one bit.

3.5 Stars --Christopher Gray


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