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  • Jonathan Widran

TOWN MEETING, Make Things Better

Funny/ironic the way the world situation sometimes makes accidental prophets out of brilliant local bands just plugging away, jamming, having a blast – and writing songs that may one day have a meaning beyond what they intended. Case in point, Town Meeting, a phenomenal (and phenomenally popular), raw and sonically expansive/inventive Boston based five piece Americana/roots rock jam band led by the free and loose, fun but emotionally deep and resonant collective vision of the three Condon brothers – Luke (vocals, guitar), Russ (vocals, drums) and Brendan aka “Babe” (vocals, harmonica, percussion).

“The Fourth Verse,” a slow building but ultimately intensely blistering electric guitar driven reflection on the give and take of what’s necessary to succeed as an indie band in this day and age, isn’t even one of the lead singles from Make Things Better, Town Meeting’s fiery yet sensitive, alternately biting/incisive and thoughtfully poetic third album. Yet there it is, late in the song – a line which perfectly captures the American predicament in 2020: “The limits that we give ourselves/It’s just the politics of living in this wishing well/But at least we’re alive right now/No more just fighting to survive right now.” All any listener can do is make a breathtaking “wow” – as if they knew. But they didn’t know, did they?

And so beyond that moment of unintentional insight, maybe it’s just best to enjoy the sizzling rollercoaster they very much intended. A prime place to launching into that is with those aforementioned preview singles, starting with the bluesy, slow rumbling, wild vocal harmonica laced Southern Rock tinged ballad “A Goddamn Song,” a spirited showcase for both the band’s transcendent harmonies and ability to take a tough, edgy look at troubled relationships that may not be worth saving.

They take this harsh but truthful rebel spirit into more socially conscious territory – ironically offset by its happy go lucky jangling vibe – on “Fuck the Man,” a commentary about working class folks trying to get by in a system rigged to make them stay stuck in their dark circumstances. Other must-listens are the band’s latest single, the wistful and reflective acoustic gem “Forget Me Nots” and the final two, smartly philosophical tunes “Eulogy” and “Silence Speak,” which are, respectively, an easy flowing rumination about the afterlife and religion, and a lyrical, cautiously hopeful anthem-like ballad advocating for allowing silence to say more than mere words ever could.


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