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Building on the promise of their 2004 EP A Beautiful Mess and its soaring single "Amplified," the Saltshakers' debut album Up All Night is an ass-shaking collection of blazing, insistent power-pop - a testament to the joyful escapism at the heart of rock'n'roll. While love is often fleeting, youth passes in a blink, and hangovers seem eternal, the songs on this collection suggest that if you can find some friends and sing and dance the night away, then tonight is all that matters.
Opening anthem "Believe" careens along in the Replacements tradition as Chad Curtis sings, "I don't know why I even try/ I will never stop," introducing a theme of resilience that permeates the album. Driving down a highway of power chords paved by Cheap Trick, "NOLA" is about the need "to just hit the open road and see," and learning that emotional ties are more binding than geographical ones. "Whiskeytown," a love letter to alt-country poster-boy Ryan Adams, rambles along on a gin-fueled journey to a mythical town where you can always walk out with the prettiest girl in the bar. The album's title track, featuring a burbling guitar riff to make Josh Rouse jealous, relates a recycling episode brought about by an alcohol-soaked encounter with an ex: "As we walk out, we don't give a damn about tomorrow/ Because it's tonight." The sprawling "Turn the Page" closes the album with the strongest evidence of Curtis' growth as a songwriter, featuring a wistful string arrangement wrapped around a hooky pop tune evoking the spirit of college radio darlings the Ocean Blue.
Up All Night is the sound of four disheveled dreamers hoisting themselves into the ranks of their Midwestern rock heroes. It's all firecrackers and no duds, a bright and loud show of power that says tomorrow might be gloomy, but "I just don't care-I don't think I've lived until today."
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