Big Tent Revival's come a long way since their debut album a few years ago. Their blues rock has become widely accepted hits like "Two Sets of Joneses" have quickly become modern classics. In the summer of 1996, they released their sophomore effort, Open All Nite, a large leap of maturity and musical excellence. Open All Nite should be remembered as a musical work of art in the coming years, and most likely the band's best record. So after a half-dozen number one singles, including new song, "WWJD," a question is proposed: "Can Big Tent top the next?"
Amplifier is far from an Open All Nite II by any means. But BTR, becoming seemingly more aggressive live than on their records, has decided it was time to put some of that fire into their recorded material. Amplifieris the result.
Amplifier fails to top Open All Night, but the changes the band makes with this album almost makes comparisons obsolete. There's such a big difference between them, you may be forced to put them into two totally different categories. While it was a ballad that elevated the band to fame, the only real ballad on the project is "Time & Space." The rest starts off as classic BTR and then takes you on a new ride, starting with "Ready Steady Go." The southern rock quintet even tries their hand at some incorporating a punk flavor with "Real Thing." One of the best highlights of the album is the fact that Big Tent finally offers a recorded version of "C'mon People," a driving rock song that, until now, could only be heard at their live shows.
Probably the album's biggest disappointment is actually the ten minute track titled "Thanks." The track is merely a candid recording of the thank-you's that you would normally find within the liner notes in the album's CD jacket. But if that's the only disappointment, there sure isn't much complaining to be done. Fans of the more structured and polished southern pop/rock of their previous albums may find Amplifier to be a hard pill to swallow, but it's a worthy rock album. Those who found those records to pop-radio-friendly may just find a lot to like about Amplifier instead.- written by John DiBiase, 1998
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