BARNES&NOBLE.COM | by David McGee, June 26, 2006

Review       

A laid-back, Allmans-like twin guitar excursion opens "Midnight Dream," the first cut on What's Wrong with Right and gets the hook in deep; as the southern soul ballad rolls out, the music and Chris Gaffney's alluring vocals create a dreamlike ambiance, evoking a place where the livin' and the lovin' are easy. Produced by Dan Penn, one of the architects of southern soul, the Brothers' sophomore album betrays his influence in its colloquial, clever lyrics and rootsy soundscapes. The heartbreaker title track mates the honky-tonk to the juke joint, as Gaffney's earthy, searching vocal is buttressed by a moaning pedal steel and some down-home organ support. The steady-cookin' "Keep It Together" is so artfully constructed lyrically and musically that it might have been a lost Penn-Spooner Oldham soul classic. The Haciendas recognize it, too, and give a Tex-Mex reconsideration of Penn-Oldham's "Cry like a Baby" as well as a version of the great songwriting duo's "It Tears Me Up." Originally cut by Percy Sledge, this brooding number, drenched in organ and pedal steel and punctuated by terse horns and moaning gospel vocals, is keyed by Gaffney's haunting performance. From there the fellows ease into a '50s-style country breakup ballad, "The Last Time," penned by the group's Dave Gonzalez. The quintet sign off in exotic fashion, with a four-minutes-plus instrumental, "Son of Saguaro," an atmospheric work clearly inspired by Ennio Morricone's evocative movie themes, complete with twanging guitar and an accordion emulating lonesome harmonica lines. No matter the approach, the Haciendas make every transition, not merely seamlessly but authoritatively. Nothing wrong with something so right.