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Continental Drifters | Better Day (Razor & Tie)
With a history that extends back some ten years, the Continental Drifters now include just one original member of the inaugural line up that began playing a Tuesday night residency at Raji's nightclub in Los Angeles in 1991. Since that time several members have come and gone and only Mark Walton (ex-Dream Syndicate) has remained a constant. With the likes of Peter Holsapple, Susan Cowsill and Vicki Peterson having now been amongst the band's ranks for almost as long, the band have become a roots pop supergroup almost by accident. Three albums down the line, you could possibly describe their efforts as a little formulaic, but with material as effortless as this from such respected musicians, if it were that simple they'd be millionaires by now, able to sell the formula in truckloads. Encompassing a range of styles including pop, folk, country and R&B into the mix and with enough years between them to imbue the oft-expressed lyrical themes of life and love with genuine insight and experience and without taking themselves too seriously, this is a consistently good album. It might not be groundbreaking, but when the music is performed with such integrity and passion by musicians of this calibre, who respect each other and work together so well, who's complaining. Featuring songs as irresistibly catchy as Long Journey Home and Someday or as evocative and poignant as Cousin, Snow or Peaceful Waking, it's definitely worth singling out Susan Cowsill and Vicki Peterson's singing, which is a joy throughout. In fact it's hard to fault 'Better Day' at all and if you avoid this record you'd be denying your chance to have just that.

Geraint Jones
November 2001