by John Schacht
The Charlotte sextet's superb sophomore full-length, Rock & Roll Dreams, is a meditation on temporality, aging with dignity and the legacies we leave behind. It'll also rock your face off. Recorded with studio-whiz Mitch Easter (R.E.M., Pavement, etc.) at Fidelitorium, the album's 11 tracks represent the proverbial great leap forward, as the band adds Chamberlin strings, harpsichord balladry and Phil Spector-textures without surrendering its musical personality. At the heart of these sonic upgrades, the songs remain the same: a potent blend of early-Springsteen urgency, Heartbreakers' melody and Byrds' jangle, all suffused with songwriter Bruce Hazel's refusal to bow down to time's insistence that rock 'n' roll is a young person's game with an expiration date. Some may kvetch about the LP's throwback sound, but the record offers extensive proof that well-written songs don't belong to any era because they are, in fact, timeless. Plus, on stage, this group of seasoned vets practically lives in the pocket, instead of just occasionally visiting. With The Sammies and Pullman Strike. Free. Oct. 18, 10 p.m. Snug Harbor, 1228 Gordon St.