Forever Goldrush Halo In My Backpack

As a latter-day alt-country outfit, Forever Goldrush risk wearing the influence of their forbears on their collective sleeve. But proudly staying true to their rural California origins, rather than any Neil Young fixation, as their name might suggest, goes a long way on this sophomore album. Its simple arrangements might sound derivative coming from some city slickers, but there is something to be said for four small-town friends banging out earnest roots rock. Although the sound is not as immediately endearing as the kitchen-sink approach of Marah, Forever Goldrush display their fair share of charm on the classic car ode "Sweet 65" and the Stones-y, horn-driven "Brothers Give Me Arms." However, the small-town aesthetic is also the band's major drawback. Too much of Halo In My Backpack sounds unfinished, making them ultimately indistinguishable from any other hometown heroes plying their trade elsewhere in North America. A little time out of town will probably do them some good. (Headhunter)