Derailers | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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On their first album, Jackpot, Austin's Derailers came off as meticulous, kitschy time travelers. With their Nudie-style suits, heavily waxed ducktails, and unwavering obeisance to the Bakersfield sound of Buck Owens, the band's reproduction of early-60s west-coast honky-tonk was so earnest as to be laughable. The soulful vocals of Tony Villanueva and solid songwriting, however, managed to keep the band's collective head just above the rough seas of nostalgia. While they hardly sound modern on their forthcoming second album, Reverb Deluxe (Sire/Watermelon), produced, like their debut, by Dave Alvin, the Derailers have successfully broadened their sound. The pop-inflected twang on the first album has blossomed: the band's sharp, pure instrumental chops are nicely balanced by melodies catchy enough to stand up in any genre. With touches like the sweet Everly Brothers-via-the-Beatles harmonies on "California Angel" or the rockabilly tremor beneath the otherwise languid "No One to Talk to but the Blues," the band has sewn up a vibrant quilt of vintage textures instead of a solid field of Buck. Friday, 10:30 PM, Schubas, 3159 N. Southport; 773-525-2508. PETER MARGASAK

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo by Todd Wolfson.

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