11 Songs, 40 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Small Stars get serious on their second outing with a soulful, rocking romp through a rock-pop-country-blues catalog of vices and heartache. Engineered by legendary mixer Bob Clearmountain, The Small Stars’ venerable talents are on glorious display here. The musical sophistication underlying the catchy melodies and hit-worthy lyrics raises each song from emotional depths, pulling the listener into the pool for a satiating and slyly humorous paddle around life’s deep, dark aquarium. Highlights include the Broadway treatment of marriage in “Love Is Grand,” the cotton candy rendering of adultery in “Carnival” (the best cut on the album), and the plaintive cry for a better life in “Bombaderos y Pistoleros.” The poignant ballad “Girl Trouble” deftly echoes Dylan and mid-period Stones, and just when you think it can’t get any better, the super smooth Joe Ely appears on “That’s What God Made Whiskey For,” to spell out D-I-V-O-R-C-E from the bottom of a bottle. Tijuana Dreams is an impressive collection, signaling the band’s readiness to find their way out of the lounge and onto the center stage.

EDITORS’ NOTES

The Small Stars get serious on their second outing with a soulful, rocking romp through a rock-pop-country-blues catalog of vices and heartache. Engineered by legendary mixer Bob Clearmountain, The Small Stars’ venerable talents are on glorious display here. The musical sophistication underlying the catchy melodies and hit-worthy lyrics raises each song from emotional depths, pulling the listener into the pool for a satiating and slyly humorous paddle around life’s deep, dark aquarium. Highlights include the Broadway treatment of marriage in “Love Is Grand,” the cotton candy rendering of adultery in “Carnival” (the best cut on the album), and the plaintive cry for a better life in “Bombaderos y Pistoleros.” The poignant ballad “Girl Trouble” deftly echoes Dylan and mid-period Stones, and just when you think it can’t get any better, the super smooth Joe Ely appears on “That’s What God Made Whiskey For,” to spell out D-I-V-O-R-C-E from the bottom of a bottle. Tijuana Dreams is an impressive collection, signaling the band’s readiness to find their way out of the lounge and onto the center stage.

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