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Record Review: Rind Stars

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Local alt-rockers Rind Stars began work on the album that would become The Not So Great Depression back in 2008, soon after the release of the band's fine debut, Sounds of Fire and Light.

An assortment of personal problems and line-up changes temporarily derailed the project, leaving the future of the band in doubt. But ultimately, the core trio of singer/guitarist Matthew Timberlake, singer/guitarist Kevin Conway, and multi-instrumentalist Jeremy Shrader were able to pull things together and reassemble a new group of players — including bassist Jeffery Saneford and vocalist Rick Trotter, who is perhaps best known as the public address announcer for the Memphis Grizzlies.

The newly revamped Rind Stars finished The Not So Great Depression earlier this year, and it certainly bears the scars of what certain members of the band went through personally. But it also feels, in a way, like a celebration of survival and moving forward, which is reflected in the band's more fully realized arrangements and expanded instrumentation this time around and also in the dark, yet somehow also cautiously optimistic tone of songs like "I Love You" and "Heartbeat."

A few overly-jammy missteps aside, The Not So Great Depression is an engaging pop/rock record that reveals the Rind Stars to be a band to watch.

Grade: B+

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