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Album review: 'High Hopes' 

Lower Expectations

"High Hopes"

Self-released

lowerexpectationsband.bandcamp.com

I didn't have any expectations — low or otherwise — when I gave Lower Expectations' debut album, "High Hopes," a couple of spins. Consequently I was surprised, pleasantly, in fact, when it came barreling out of my headphones.

The twin guitar attack found here stops just short of being too saccharine or too poppy, even though it's laden with hooks over an unstoppable rhythm section. There is an ominous quality lurking in the grooves as indicated best in the fourth and last cut, "Dead to the World," where singer Keegan Johnston prowls and positively growls the melody like a hungry jungle cat.

And come to think of it, Johnston's big, bad baritone voice dominates, in a good way, this whole damn project with all its astute attitude and menacing tone. "High Hopes" reminds me of the Beasts of Bourbon. I'm tellin' ya, this type of gunslinger bravado is what's been missing in rock 'n' roll lately. You just need Lower Expectations.

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