Austin Collins & The Rainbirds
Eight Dollar Music
It was inevitable with the progression of his albums that Texas musician Austin Collins would eventually make a record as accessible as Wrong Control. The musician’s latest release finds Collins and The Rainbirds–guitarist Dylan McDougall and drummer Craig Bagby–relying less on the twangy riffs and Americana of Whiskeytown and more on straight-ahead rock influences like The Replacements. “Conventional Lust” is a poppy, hands-down hit (and is replete with subtle hand claps). Its subject matter may be a bit heavy for a song this catchy (“You’ve bought into the trappings of conventional lust / You drink too much for the both of us…”), but it showcases Collins’ ability to pen a mainstream-friendly song.
Thankfully, the band doesn’t ignore its roots. Instead–as on its last effort, Roses Are Black–it expands upon them, and Wrong Control wouldn’t be an Austin Collins album without some good old-fashioned heartbreak. The break-up anthem “Frailer Ground” finds an angry Collins still pining away: “When you walked away, I smashed all the bottles of your favorite wine / Please say you’re pretending when all we’ve got to prove are these promises…” Similarly, on “Just The Same” Collins sings, “A rose by any other name is just a flower in the rain / She was made to hold your dreams up by a string.”
Collins and The Rainbirds, along with Centro-matic’s Will Johnson on production duties, have created another alt-country gem. With the quality of modern country music such that it is, Wrong Control proves that the line between country and rock can be straddled and still be done well.
More information on Austin Collins & The Rainbirds may be found at www.austincollins.net.