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FRONTIER INDEX (Buy CDs by this artist)
Frontier Index (Rainbow Quartz) 2005

This Toronto four-piece plays rootsy, country-flavored rock under the influence of the usual suspects (Gram Parsons, the Stones, the Band, Neil Young). On the group's self-titled debut, soulful, banjo-tickled ballads ("On and On") and twangy, harmony-laden waltzes ("My Secret," "Picture in Pocket") attest to considerable songwriting prowess, but FI occasionally tries too hard to rock — with pedestrian results. A few tracks do combine these two tendencies with reasonable success, particularly "San Antone," a mournful, downbeat ballad that rises to a driving, raw-and-frayed climax. While there's certainly nothing pioneering about Frontier Index, they cover well-trod terrain in a perfectly serviceable manner.

[Wilson Neate]