I think every new BoDeans album since 1996’s Blend has come with at least a vague sense of disappointment for me, but like Charlie Brown running to Lucy’s football, I keep going back to the band, always hoping that the next release will recapture some of their old fire. I don’t think it’s just me being your typical longtime asshole fan who whines about the old stuff being better, either — I mean, I know the early stuff had its share of flaws, but it also had a spark that I haven’t heard since Go Slow Down and Joe Dirt Car.
This is all my way of saying that when I heard BoDeans co-founder Sam Llanas up and quit the band last year, I was kind of sad that Kurt Neumann decided to continue on without him — and I thought the odds of a half-decent record coming out of the new lineup were pretty slim. Not that Llanas’ songs were my favorite — generally the opposite, in fact — but there’s a certain something you lose when you subtract the creative tension that comes from two longtime partners pushing and pulling over the direction of a band.
Or maybe not, actually, at least if “All the World,” the leadoff single from the new BoDeans record American Made, is anything to go by. This could just be low expectations talking, but I’m really digging this song; I think it’s the closest anything under the BoDeans banner has gotten to the band’s old spirit in a very long time. Check it out at Relix and judge for yourself.
Bonus for our Springsteen-loving friends: the album, due June 12, also includes a cover of “I’m on Fire.” (And lest you think Neumann lacks Boss-covering bona fides, dig his cover of “Atlantic City.”)