Since the Bodeans haven't released an album in eight years, it might reasonably be assumed that they've been slacking off. As "Resolution" reveals, however, Wisconsin-rooted singer-songwriters Sam Llanas and Kurt Neumann have been working constructively on new material. Indeed, these 14 songs constitute the band's most consistent set since 1993's "Go Slow Down" -- the album that contained "Closer to Free," which became a mainstream hit after it was introduced to TV audiences as the theme to "Party of Five."
The self-produced "Resolution" features a slicker, more layered sound that includes such roots-rock taboos as keyboards and synthbeats. The electronics are mingled with accordion and acoustic guitar, however, and the trio's fundamental style hasn't really changed since its 1986 debut, "Love & Hope & Sex & Dreams." Like a pair of '80s-era Springsteens, Llanas and Neumann grab immediately for the anthemic: Such songs as "(We Can) Live" and "Said Hello" don't even wait for the chorus before making their first grand gestures. "These are big and special things," announces the opening "If It Makes You," and the bigness is indisputable. Bodeans make back-porch rock that's designed to fill stadiums.
-- Mark Jenkins
Appearing Thursday at the 9:30 club with Bob Schneider. * To hear a free Sound Bite from the Bodeans, call Post-Haste at 301-313-2200 and press 8106. (Prince William residents, call 703-690-4110.)