The Cowsills In Magazines

Better Day Review
July 2001
CMJ New Music Magazine

Continental Drifters
Better Day Razor & Tie

FILE UNDER: Proto-alternative Traveling Wilburys
R.I.Y.L.: Old 97's, Van Morrison, Lucinda Williams
The Continental Drifters are the super-group of bar-band dreams. Mark Walton (formerly of the Dream Syndicate), Peter Holsapple (the dB's), Susan Cowsill (the Cowsills) and Vicki Peterson (the Bangles) have all cashed in their legacies for ersatz pop rock, the kind of inoffensive music a fine reissue label like Razor & Tie would have no anxiety bankrolling. Their winningly normal sound is the Dream Syndicate without the feedback, the dB's without the shakes, the Cowsills without the top 40 and the Bangles without Beatlemania. Their last outing, 1999's Vermillion, got over an ebullient esprit de corps. Better Days, the band's third release, is a bit more calculated in its effects, which on some tracks only adds to the cheer (the amazing church organ-banjo break in "Live On Love," for example). The occasional horn arrangements walk on sunshine instead of blaring through with a simulation of soul, and the democratic approach to vocals provides variety throughout. And in their message to the world, hard-time verses give way to chirpy, positive-thought choruses, as in the title cut's "Tomorrow's gonna be an even better day." After all, what else could they harmonize about, and get us to believe, after several decades in the business? >>>>> Kevin John

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