No one can fault Vancouver's Kent McAlister for having too much fun. On The Way It Rolls, the country guitarist moves between rollicking riffs and steady lap steel, all while maintaining an ironic sense of self. On the album's opener, he laments working so hard -- it seems serious, but his speedy lyrics, baritone voice and humorous fast-to-slow time shifts turn what could have been a groaner into a curious little roots ditty.
But as interesting as some of these tracks are, there's a bunch of annoying crap here, too. The Spanish guitar on Ole Bandolier is more obnoxious than funny, and Losing (Always Seems To Find Me) -- "I'm not sad I want you to drown, cuz I'd much rather have you around" -- are both confusing and deserving of an eye roll.
Still, if you're brave enough to endure the grating tracks, there are a few redeeming moments worth checking out.
Kent McAlister and the Iron Choir play the Dakota Tavern tonight.