Face it; every Detroit band worth its salty tears has gotta know how to rock in overdrive. When they roll call all the great Motor City aggregations, it’s never something like Bread or Four Jacks and Jill — which incidentally was an actual band from South Africa that specialized in morbid folk songs that Fred Willard would actually enjoy in real life. So it’s no surprise that the Nice Device can pound persistently behind Alicia Gbur and keep her songs from sounding like Josie and the Pussycats outtakes. They rawk and they even do the trick of speeding up like a Swiss bobsled on “How Low How Obscene” for no good reason but to demonstrate how effortlessly they return to terra firma without bumping into things. What is a surprise is when we’re shown the midtempo and we get drony, ethereal mod-pop like “Never Be My Man” that sounds purposeful like a single and unreasonable like The Kills on a good day. I even had to check the credits on “Back to the City” ’cause I was convinced it was some lost Flamin’ Groovies cut. That’s high praise from a guy who thought he heard the word “hand job” on “My Little Birdie” and got his hopes up for nothing. Besides, what’s not to love about a disc that sports both guitar hero Zach Shipps and Brendan Benson twiddling the knobs?
E-mail Serene Dominic at firstname.lastname@example.org.