Eastmountainsouth Eastmountainsouth

A few bars into the Stephen Foster staple "Hard Times," from Eastmountainsouth's debut album, might just have you thinking of Gillian Welch in a really nice studio. The LA-based duo of Kat Maslich and Peter Adams are a vocally perfect match and their contemporary roots sound caught the ear of Robbie Robertson, who hitched them a deal with DreamWorks. Since DreamWorks isn't in the business of underground Americana, however, Eastmountainsouth have been given the pop buff and shine. Under Mitchell Froom's co-production the album plays out with predictable arrangements, catchy choruses, sombre moods, and an under padding of ambient electronics. Too clean for Americana and too roots for real pop, Eastmountainsouth sits in limbo as a pop-Americana record — not quite the real thing but a pretty imitation that will probably attract a lot of buyers. (Dreamworks)