When I first heard Sister Hazel’s sixth record, Absolutely, flashbacks of late-90’s FM radio rock hit my mind in a flurry. One painful memory was a long drive to Grand Forks, North Dakota, with my mother rocking out to hits from Hootie & the Blowfish, Dishwalla and Blues Traveler. I’m pretty sure that Sister Hazel’s 1997 summer hit “All For You” was in the mix. The one thing saving me from all this aural pollution was my trusty Discman blasting Radiohead’s masterpiece, OK Computer — on repeat.
Fast forward to 2006 and Sister Hazel is still rehashing the same ol’ poppy Americana rock. Although, to give the band some credit, tracks like first single “Mandolin Moon” (featuring Shawn Mullins) features an undeniable catchy chorus, “Tear By Tear” is blessed by sparkling organ playing, and the stripped down, R&B ballad “This Kind of Love” is so clichéd that it turns out to strengthen the bottom half of the record. Other than these quick highlights, Absolutely is well… absolutely boring.
Absolutely will definitely hit a chord with hardcore fans, but, in the end, if you didn’t like Sister Hazel in ’97, you’ll still drown in their brand of watered down, over-produced roots rock. (Wandering Hazel Music)