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Can't Love, Can't Hurt
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Reviewed: 4/29/2008 by Ryan

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Augustana's "Can't Love, Can't Hurt" takes what the band built on "All the Stars and Boulevards" and builds that into a southern pop/rock sound that doesn't just make Tom Petty proud, it pays homage to him too. Throw in that particular style's other hero (Bob Dylan) and you've got two big ingredients for what Augustana's latest album is. Seemingly it feels like the band is channeling their two heroes at times. The bass line on "I Still Ain't Over You" is Tom Petty through and through and the blues/rock guitar vibe thrown on "Dust" reminds one quite a bit of "Last Dance with Mary Jane." On the Dylan side of things, Augustana's frontman Dan Layus has a delivery similar to Dylan's but he still maintains a certain amount of smoothness to his vocal so that it sounds a little different. The biggest Dylan homage on the record comes in the form of "Rest, Shame, Love", Layus doesn't just faintly remind one of Dylan on the track; the song actually sounds like something Dylan would write. Although you can certainly point out Augustana's influences, it never seems like the band doesn't have their own unique sound. "Hey Now" is a good opening track that ends with the kind of passion we saw from Layus in the band's debut. "Sweet & Low" is the best hook on the album and was chosen to be the first single because of it. And "Fire" is the song that many people wanted "Boston" to be. "Can't Love, Can't Hurt" isn't going to be the pinnacle of Augustana albums, but it's still pretty good. This album keeps the ball rolling for one of today's best young bands. Look for another hit single off this disc (there are a few to be had) and look for that to keep Augustana on the road and in the studio.

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