Screeching Old Dixie Down

Boogaloo is a solid, consistent record that stays close in its heart to midcentury r&b song forms and runs along powerfully, the guitar and vocal balancing each other out a little too well rather than— as in times past— letting each other hang perilously out the bus window. Which isn't to say that Nazareth entirely forgoes its restlessness. "Talk Talk," for instance, is an interesting mixture: the notes at the start form a Celtic jig, a boogie works itself in underneath, then the Celtic riff leaves while a Temptations-like melody rides that same boogie groove. Then the Celtic jig returns as a guitar fill, which makes way for a treated electronic guitar solo.

But I do have a complaint. There's a blahness to the lyrics all the way through, vague stuff about painting the town, cheerleaders who will or will not put out, and so on— which leads me to a more general complaint. The adventure in the band's playing doesn't seem to associate with anyone's adventure in living. Of course, it doesn't have to, to be good music— and anyway, how am I to know what boring or interesting stuff some other Nazareth listener might be doing out there? This is just my sense of the ethos of the thing. The rock rolls on, long after the thrill of rocking has gone.

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