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BoDeans' "Mr. Sad Clown" elicits breathless anticipation


"Mr. Sad Clown"
Grade: ★★★½

Given their tumultuous 20-plus-year career, their penchant for anthemic bliss and a sustained perseverance that belies fleeting fortunes (“Closer to Free” remains their sole brush with the top of the charts), any new effort by the BoDeans elicits breathless anticipation from true devotees.

Fortunately, the partnership of Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas remains as grounded as ever, steering the band through yet another set of searing rockers and aching laments. Those familiar with the formula won’t find any tampering here. Still, the band truly excels when soaring on heartfelt emotion, as evidenced by the commanding choruses that propel “All the Blues” and “Headed for the End of the World,” the two most assertive songs of the set. They give Mr. Sad Clown that special exhilaration.

— Lee Zimmerman