Bonnie Lang: I'm There 

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Local singer Bonnie Lang's full-length debut teases more than it pleases, but still holds out promise for the future. Lang's a throaty singer working rich veins of Southern and blues-inflected country rock. It's a decent first effort that unfortunately lays there like a bored lover at times. There's a chugging rock backbeat, guitarist Maurice Munter's clearly a very talented fellow, and Al Hockley's keyboards work some nice grooves, but solid execution and playing won't compensate for uninspiring lyrics and a deficiency of hooks. It's this last part that really sabotages this album, suggesting a band that's probably hot live, but is still learning how to write memorable songs. The closest Lang comes is on a sassy come-on rejection, "Hey There Cowboy," where Lang sings, "Come back when you have something good to say/Come back when your hat's on straight." It's her best line and the album's highlight, though none of the 10 tracks blow. It's simply that none really stick, and the album slips by too easily without making a strong impression, aside from Munter's occasional tasty blasts of classic/Southern rock riffage (the lick from "Desperate" sounds lifted from the Georgia Satellites). They've learned to rock, now they need to learn to write.

★★ 1/2 (out of 5 stars)

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