“Put your shoes on, we’re going to a party,” Townies vocalist Jeff Bacon sings on “Grow on You,” the first track on their new album, Plug. This sounds alright enough until the song continues and we find out the girl he’s addressing doesn’t “drink too much or like my friends … or have much social skills.” So why does he want to hang out with her? Apparently she’s his designated driver.
“When you drive me home / I can teach you ’bout the days of Rome,” the chorus goes. “When a bed was just a place called home / And I can show you my smooth moves.” That’s just plain awful.
The Townies are the type of band you probably saw playing at a bar in the mid-’90s and promptly forgot. They play generic alt-country and indie-rock as if Yankee Hotel Foxtrot were never made.
This album doesn’t “grow on you” at all. None of the 11 tracks stand out. It seemed as though the more I listened to Plug, the less I found. Whenever the band tries to rock or step outside the confines of formula, you’re reminded that this has all been done before and much better.
That’s not to say Plug doesn’t have a few notable moments. Bacon does a decent Adam Duritz impression on the Counting Crows knock-off “So Long.” I like the song “Broomsweep,” mostly because it’s called “Broomsweep.” If it didn’t rhyme “cancer” with “answer” and “brother” with “mother” in the chorus, I might like it even more. The guitars have a satisfying crunch to them and the drums, boring as they are, have great reverb.
I don’t know what I was hoping for when I put this on, but I never got it. Plug just doesn’t connect.
— Peet Chamberlain
The Townies’ new album can be heard on their Bandcamp page.