You’ll find no surprises on Ed Roland’s first record as Ed Roland and the Sweet Tea Project. Devils ‘n Darlins has the same big pop hooks Roland has always been able to write with Collective Soul, the sound is just stripped of the distortion and some more americana instrumentation is added.
There are a couple songs that would fit nicely on a Collective Soul record here, most notably the lead single “Love Won’t Bring Us Down” and “Just As I Am.” There are also songs that sound nothing like Collective Soul other than the fact that Roland is singing like “Going To Birmingham” and “Oh Lord.” The latter sounding like it was heavily inspired by the band Alabama. Vocal duties are even given to other members of the band on a couple songs making for a nice change-up mid record, neither of which will blow you away but they still fit in the scheme of the record and make Devils ‘n Darlins feel like a little more than just a solo project.
The album allows Roland to indulge in acoustic strums and even some banjo and ukelele; something he couldn’t really get away with in his alternative 90’s powerhouse band. This feels like a one off project and a bit of a scattered collection but it is a fun project. If the Sweet Tea Project can focus a little more on the next record maybe they can drop the “Ed Roland” from their name and gain an identity of their own.
Key Tracks: “Love Won’t Bring Us Down” “Devils ‘n Darlins”