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Sticks and Stones 

CD Review: moe

The Deal: Unaltered, pre-jam compositions rock moe's genre-busting release.

The Good: If it's your first time with moe, don't let the jam band label put you off. Although they're known for their long improvisational flights of fancy in concert, this record is a concise, melodic vehicle firmly anchored in rock. Most of the 10 tracks clock in at under four minutes. There's a lot of '70s nostalgia woven throughout the fabric of the record. "Queen of Everything" revisits '70s-era Stones with psychedelic hillbilly honk, like an outtake from Their Satanic Majesties Request. It's the longest cut at six minutes, but still manages not to sound jammy. The Stones influence continues with "Deep This Time," featuring Jagger-eque vocals sounds like something off Exile On Main Street. "All Roads Lead To Home" sounds like a Richards riff-backed Eagles cut. The band switches to a smoother pop sound for "Cathedral," with the harmonies as tight as you'd find in family bluegrass bands. "Raise A Glass" is an Irish-flavored drinkin' ode: "May we never get old and never get caught and never get what we deserve." "ZOZ" is a Zappa-ish instrumental.

The Bad: If you're new to the jam world, be forewarned that the live show's gonna render these tunes unrecognizable.

The Verdict: It's the first time the band's written and cut songs before stretching them out live. If you want 'em in their original, unaltered condition, now's the time to buy.

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