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THE SHOUTING MATCHES — GROWNASS MAN

by Ryan Snyder

When the Patrick Swayze classic Roadhouse gets remade, and it inevitably will, Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and Megafaun’s Phil Cook might already have the house band in mind. Their long-simmering blues-rock side project the Shouting Matches is, at times, closer to fortysomethings in Kangol berets jamming souldeprived hot licks on the weekends before going back to their jobs as actuaries and pharmacists on Monday as Vernon’s history of left turns would have ever predicted. It’s an outlet for three guys (including Laarks’ Brian Moen) who go way back, and are often guilty of being a little too serious, to get their kicks by being anything but serious. The only Vernon-esque quality of the Shouting Matches’ debut Grownass Man is his affection for place names as songs (see: opener “Avery Hill” where he does his best Mark Knopfler and the ball-busting “Gallup, NM”); he set aside his trademark falsetto and mechanical processing for sludgy mic tricks and newlyelectric Dylan arrangement tropes on “Seven Sisters.” Other times, it tends slightly toward the brutally sincere and desperate soul who wrote For Emma, Forever Ago on tracks like the gentle Gospel ballad “New Theme,” not of it executed by men who feel completely invested in it, but it’s not bad for a weekend gig.

67/100

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