By Barry Gilbert
Of the Post-Dispatch

August 12, 2004

Zoë Records

War in Iraq got you depressed? Economy got you down? Bush or Kerry -- or Nader -- got your dander up?

Well, then, just in time, the BoDeans are back from an eight-year absence with 14 smile-inducing, dance-inspiring helpings of heartland rock 'n' roll.

Conservatives will turn the corner for the chiming electric and ringing acoustic guitars, and liberals will take hope from the perfect, brother-worthy harmonies of guitarists-singers-songwriters Kurt Neumann and Sam Llanas, brothers in song only.

Independents will endorse bassist Bob Griffin's rhythms on a mix of rockers and ballads.

The BoDeans' platform begins with four planks of big meaty power chords and thumping drums, capped by the accordion-laced affirmation of "Wild World": "Yeah, yeah it's a wild world, you know/People change their lives every day."

Other anthems include "617," "where you have to sleep with your decisions," and "Crazy," where "I beg the sky above to listen please/Is there a place where I can be over this reality."

Even the apparent pessimism of the ballad "Nobody Loves Me" is lightened by the optimism of the next phrase: " . . . like my baby."

Eight years, in music or politics, is a long time to be away. Styles and ideologies change. But the BoDeans have not, and you'll just have to check your values to decide whether that's a good thing.

The polls are saying: Listen once, you'll vote BoDeans.