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June StarJune Star
Album: Pull Awake
Label: Self Released
Tracks: 11

Hailing from Baltimore, named for a character in Flannery O'Connor's A Good Man Is Hard to Find and currently comprising frontman Andrew Grimm, drummer Kurt Celtnicks, Andy Bopp on guitars and keyboards and David Hadley providing consummate pedal steel, they've been knocking around since 1998, during which time they've released nine albums that fit comfortably into the alt country/roots rock pigeonhole. From which, it's safe to assume they have a sizeable following without necessarily troubling wider awareness. It's unlikely that their tenth album is going to put them on a larger map, but it does serve up a solid fist of punchy songs veined with strong melodies, hefty riffs, raspy vocals and close harmonies, at times, as on 'Feathers', recalling early REM, at others, like 'Proof' and the chugging steel-stained ballad 'House Call' hewing closer to dusty Austin country.

Kicking off with the dry, measured feel of 'Tether', they range from the swaggering riffing of Coma and Pettyish coiled muscle of the bluesy 'Apollo' to the lighter rolling feel of the chorus-friendly 'Wonders', the harmonica-washed ache of the gently jogging 'Atrophy' and the closing melancholic strum that is 'The King Is Dead' to which Hartley brings keening pedal beauty. It won't change your life, but it will nicely accompany those fantasies of driving through the heartlands with the top down.

Mike Davies