The Payola Reserve – 200 Years

The Payola Reserve – 200 Years / 2007 Self / 13 Tracks / /

The Payola Reserve have a smoothed out sound that blends a Radiohead sound with a more classic, folk style. “Grade A Television” starts off “200 Years”, and it is here where The Payola Reserve begin to impress listeners. They impress listeners through this blending of styles, and through the confidence of the band’s lead singer. “Jugband Joan” adds different influences and styles to The Payola Reserve’s overall sound. The vocals move into a more Elvis Costello-type of sound, while there are hints of bluegrass and surf present in the instrumental arrangements.

In much of the same way, “Portrait Society” allows The Payola Reserve to explore different genres and musical styles. What results during this track is something that blends equal parts Eagles and “Synchronicity”-era Police. The slower tempo of a “All Things Are Better in Heaven” imbue the band with an earlier sound, without sacrificing the radio-friendly sound that the band has cultivated with earlier tracks. The band seems to be leading up into something big during the first half of “200 Years”. The pinnacle of their work on the disc comes during “Lost Wind Craze”. The track is able to tap into the current indie rock meets alt-country sound created by bands like Lucero, Latterman, and to a smaller degree Against Me and make something that could be played on the widest swath of music and video stations.

The tracks on “200 Years” go by quickly and The Payola Reserve comes forth strong with each subsequent track. While a song like “Lost Wind Craze” was one of the most compelling on the disc, the confident swagger of the 38 Special meets Zappa “Henrietta” shows further expansion and evolution of the band’s sound. Nothing really needs to be changed on the band’s follow-up to “200 Years”; the production is strong without distancing the band from their fans; the overall sound of The Payola Reserve is approachable without being dumbed-down. It will just take the right constellation of magazines, radio stations, and video outlets to give The Payola Reserve the push that they deserve. While there is no evidence of it, the lively nature of the band as captured on this studio recording will likely be impressive in a live content. Go and check The Payola Reserve out, pick up “200 Years”, and ride on the waves of their vibrant rock before they break it big.

Top Tracks: Jugband Joan, Henrietta
Rating: 6.5/10

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Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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