Dan Isreal & The Cultivators Love Ain't A Cliché

This hard-working, blue-collar band is a study in perseverance. And "just another alt-country leaning, garage band out of Minneapolis" has become a rather unique hybrid unto itself. Quirky, introspective lyrics marry to roots-pop with memorable hooks across 13 original tracks. And the voice that was once their weakest link has matured - as has the band - to a point where Dan Israel has seen fit to put his name out front-and-centre. The Cultivators are the better for it (plus they'd be wise to hire that killer B3 player, Peter Sands). This is a tasteful record that is sloppy in all the right places, lending itself to a smooth finish that bears the mark of Elvis Costello fronting the latter-day Replacements (after quite a few beers, perhaps). This may be a bit of an overstatement but there's no denying the lasting impact of powerful tracks like "Wasn't Lost On Me," the perky "Friend In This Town," the Ray Davies-esque "Feet In The Water," or the ballsy opening track, "Some Time." Pure pop with punkish attitude that often veers into country or folkish turf without diminishing the whole. Tough to put a finger on but equally tough to resist. Repeated listenings prove their own rewards. (Hayden's Ferry)