BoDeans: Thirteen (Free & Alive)

(Free & Alive)

It’s been nearly 35 years since Wisconsin roots-rockers the BoDeans first got together and they continue to churn out new music. But if the last few records are any indication, they may have run out of inspiration.

On ‘Thirteen,’ their latest and third album without co-founder and former co-vocalist Sam Llanas, the band continues to put decent, nostalgia-bait adult alternative fare, but the result is just plain underwhelming. At this point, the only original member is front man Kurt Neumann and he not only sang on the record, but played guitars, drums, bass and keyboards on every song. In fact, the only thing he didn’t play was piano and accordion which begs the question why this was billed as a BoDeans record versus a solo effort?

Neumann does deserve a little credit for continuing to write and record new music because the band could easily make a living by hopping on the nostalgia summer tour wagon and play all the hits – a live jukebox band for all the aging Generation Xers (looking at you Live, Sugar Ray and Lit). But, does the new music need to be this bland and predictable?

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