“The Violent Femmes meet James Brown on the back porch of your old Kentucky home.” That’s how Peter describes these guys from Bucks County, Pennsylvania (not Illinois). Led by Arch, who writes, sings, plays guitar, banjo and keys and endearingly pours his humble heart – all the sad, raw, unwanted, cocky and desirous emotions – into the songs he so deftly threads and plays with the band, Illinois
is a warm, southern rock flavored adventure. She’s So Blonde and Nosebleed anthemically evoke foot stomping and rabble rousing. Where’s The Woman I Know ends in a tracelike band jam highlighted by a banjo that wants to be a sitar. Broken String, with Arch on piano while earnestly contemplating his brokenness and innate unworthiness, poignantly pulls at reservoirs of sadness and compassion for this vulnerable guy who may not realize he’s got it all – smarts, looks, kindheartedness and a sweet personality. He’s a special one with a respectful yet dangerous wit, one who most likely belonged in an accelerated learning programs as a little kid (no, not a short-busser) but probably ended up just getting into trouble instead. When you have the opportunity, go see these guys live. Their energy’s buzzy, friendly, bring the roof down fun.
Listen to the Exclusive Live Tracks (option/click to download):
Get Illinois’ latest record, The Adventures of Kid Catastrophe (6/9/09, Planetary Records). They loaded it with 20 songs.