Like a chicken-fried side of Stonesy country-rawk, the Sundogs dip their high-voltage twang in a batter of Southern rock. While the alt-country roster is now full of DBT-wannabes, this Atlanta quartet is actually worthy of such comparisons. Opener "Modern Day Miracle" blazes barroom boogie reminiscent of the Black Crowes, and the strut of the Georgia Satellites energizes "Continuing Adventures of Elvis, Vol. 1." Haraway brothers Lee and Will trade vocals and occasionally harmonize in crisply recorded drawls, while Matt Ulmer holds down nicely understated lead guitar.
The album also offers a handful of enjoyable late-album curveballs – the soulful rave-up "Teach It," and "Las Vegas," which combines War's "Low Rider" bassline with blaring horns (courtesy the Dirty Dozen Brass Band's Kevin Harris and Efrem Towns) and a competing country two-step vibe that echoes the "country boy in the city" theme. A good start-to-finish release, Instrument of Change's sonic moxie and occasional change-ups help it avoid alt-country homogeneity. 4 stars
The Sundogs play Smith's Olde Bar Fri., March 16.