BoDeans keep on keepin’ on
Sammy Llanas and Kurt Neumann—the duo behind Wisconsin’s BoDeans—are working on a fruitful 20-year partnership that’s seen highs (touring with U2) and lows (persistent obscurity).
The fact that they’re still around and making records is a testament to their perseverance and to the malleability of their rootsy sound. Still
, their eighth studio album and first on their new label He & He LP, adheres to the group’s modest strengths: Llanas and Neumann’s tight harmonies, plainspoken lyrics, chiming guitars and catchy hooks (see “The First Time” and “Wonder Wonder”). The album opens inanely with Llanas and Neumann’s “Pretty Ghost” (“Why you gotta be so beautiful?”), but on “Round Here Somewhere” The BoDeans settle into the durable, sometimes predictable bar rock they do best—and sustain it for 10 more songs. They haven’t changed their sound over the years, but Still
suggests there’s no need to fix what ain’t broke.