Blues Trio Enter 21st Century
It’s always impressive and heartwarming to see a band seemingly appear out of nowhere and suddenly reach stardom. Houndmouth is a perfect example of this. The band originally hails from New Albany, Indiana, a stone’s throw from Louisville. They performed at SXSW, and the performance went so well that they scored a record deal out of it. The ensuing debut record, From The Hills Below The City, was so well received that the band suddenly became must-sees on late night shows and festivals all around the country. Now, after a busy few years of touring and the departure of keyboardist Katie Toupin, the band has released their third record, Golden Age.
The alt-blues trio begins its new journey with opener “Never Forget,” which has a slow fade-in, followed by the old-school THX movie music, before morphing into a slow electro-roots jam with old-school blues guitar riffs and over-the-top modern indie production. The sexy title track is next, which channels the disco era–could that be the golden age the band is referencing? The next song is the infectiously catchy lead single “The Party” which fuses a funky groove with a criminally sing-able hook.
Sadly, after those first three tracks, Golden Age begins to falter in creativity, and the rest of the album’s 10 tracks possess very little memorable material. The boisterous “Coast to Coast” and the hard-rocking ballad “Black Jaguar” are also good songs, but otherwise, the listener will start noticing clear patterns. The performances of the band members themselves though are strong: lead singer/guitarist Matt Myers has the distortion turned up on his vocals, but the melodies still shine through. Bassist Zak Appleby and drummer Shane Cody lock down a tight yet free-flowing rhythm.
One thing that jumps out from this album is that the ‘blues’ nature has been scrapped in favor of a more polished, modern indie rock sound. Despite the fact that it gets monotonous at times, Golden Age is an entertaining listen with a sound made for alternative radio, and fans of current alternative bands such as Walk The Moon, New Politics and Portugal. The Man will find it especially exciting. They’re far from a finished product, but as long as they continue to hone their sound and tighten up their songwriting, they’ll keep doing New Albany proud.