Jack & the Beanstalk Cowboys in Sweden

Sweden Don't be misled by the disc's cover art parody of Pet Sounds - this Australian quartet shares little in the way of musical common ground with the Beach Boys. Instead, it's the expansive pool of four-on-the-floor roots rock and twangy Americana from which Jack and the Beanstalk derives its primary inspiration. Typical though that may sound, guitarist/vocalist and principal songwriter Joe Algeri manages to impart his own hook-driven, nasal-voiced style to the bulk of these 13 compositions. Even when he is moved to reach for the borrowing bag, Algeri does so with the kind of humorous self-deprecation listeners have come to expect from a band down under. The song "Heard It All Before," for instance, leans heavily on the oft-ripped "Stepping Stone" riff, while "Two-Sixty-Five" comes off as a tongue-in-cheek update of the Kinks' "Victoria." The tail end of the disc features three bonus live tracks, an inquisitive number called "Who Will Save Rock'n'Roll?" among them. The answer to that musical question is not Jack and the Beanstalk, but the group's best efforts should be enough to buoy the genre for a while longer. (Parasol)