Little Mother's Things I Am Keeping
(Money Wolf Music)
Letter," the lead track on Little Mother's Things I Am Keeping, is about as busy as roots rock gets. A blistering banjo line, the thumping of snare drums, and the honky-tonk-meets-Rubber Soul guitars swirl around in a tornado of Americana. It's a declarative opening statement but maybe not the best example of Dollar Fox's strengths. For that, skip to song two, "Josephine," which gallops at a slower gait. Here, the buttery, unwavering voice of lead vocalist Tommy Donoho and the sing-along hooks are streamlined and on full display. Generally speaking, this is the lane in which Dollar Fox drives steadiest — when Donoho takes on laid-back alt-country ballads. Less compelling are tracks in which Donoho cedes the mic, as on "Don't Remember Name," which veers into power-pop territory (albeit with a mandolin in tow), and closer "Keep It Straight," which runs too hot and twangy. It adds up to an uneven second album, though one that shows a lot of promise. There's nothing wrong with trying on new speeds and sizes, of course, but Dollar Fox is most on the money when it slows down, strips down and mellows out.
Download at dollarfox.bandcamp.com.