"The Kid from Gillette, Wyoming"

(American Cheese Records 2007)Campbells - The Kid from Gillette, Wyoming

Before we start, let us get a few things straight. No, despite the albums title The Campbells are not from Gillette, Wyoming. No, The Campbells are not a group made up of family members. Yes, Campbell is the real last name of frontman J Campbell. And no, I do not know if J is his real first name. As for the music itself, "The Kid From Gillette, Wyoming" is the second album from the Minneapolis-based quartet that puts a Neil Young-style country twist on fluid electric guitar rock.

Soft acoustic guitar led rock gently builds into a fuller sound throughout "The Kid From Gillette, Wyoming," such as on "Last of the big times shows" and the welcoming opening track "My silly sparks." "Remember when" gets things going with a quick rhythm and instrumentation takes on a loose jam style. A slight twang hints at country while a simple guitar riff adds some understated flair to "Heard a lot." The Campbells put on a harder edge for the buzzing rock of "Atom bomb on a V.A. plan" where full instrumentation makes Campbell's voice barely audible.

The Campbells' "The Kid From Gillette, Wyoming" is honest and sincere. These traits come across clearly in their music; this certainly is not a band forcing anything. But the album quickly becomes derivative of itself, each song merely reiterating the band's practiced formula as Campbell's vocals become wearisome and flat. "The Kid From Gillette, Wyoming" could benefit from spontaneity and some fine tuning of the album's mix, which often seems unbalanced with electric guitar swallowing up the rest of the instrumentation and vocals.


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