A reverberated, twangy experience
Combining country guitars with reverb, crooning vocals about romance and friendship, Futurebirds fourth full-length LP Teamwork comes heavy packed with emotional lyrics and hard-hitting riffs.
Coming from a country, Americana background, the quintet finds comfort in a washed-out guitar sound with drums ringing out like they came straight from a Hendrix album. Opening track “Teamwork Runs the Game” begins the album with a psychedelic retelling of old Western movie openers before segueing into the track “Crazy Boys,” a twangy, nostalgia-driven piece building up in intensity till a heavy vocal ending screaming “how about now?” drives home the song. This leads into track three “Trippin’,” the most traditional country sounding song on the album, and one of the best on the album. Featuring their classic reverb-soaked country guitar, and their washed-out drum sound, the song builds up, leading to an awe-inspiring guitar solo to climax the song.
As the rest of the album progresses, bluesy-funk influence props upon such tracks as “Killing Ground” and “Wear It Out.” “Killing Ground” showcases a massive guitar sound, with clear influence from some John Lennon solo work. “Wear It Out” is the most “rock and roll” sounding track of the album, blending the genres the band knows how to use so well. A country-rock crooner, “Wear It Out” is one of the highlights of the album.
Easily the highlight of the album has to come in track five “My Broken Arm.” Meshing an indie style chords underneath a country based melody, the song has the least amount of psychedelic influence, but the hardest hitting riff. Keeping up with the theme of crooning vocals, this song has all the makings of a radio main stayer and is the most accessible to a larger crowd.
The album does have its drawbacks. While the vocal tones and crooning style are a staple of Futurebirds sound, sometimes the vocals leave the listener wanting more. Tracks can start to sound the same especially towards the middle of the album, as there is little to no variance in the tone or sound of the guitars and bass. Along with this, most tracks range in the same BPM regions, adding to the repetitiveness the album sometimes carries.
However, the album does have a clean sound without being too polished and stays true to the core of the band’s sound. The song that does draw the least of their core sound comes in the closing track “Waiting on a Call.” Driven by their classic reverb, twanged out guitar, this track includes a drum machine to fill out the percussive element, something not seen on the rest of the album. Building up in intensity, the vocals, guitar and drums all crash at the end, leaving just a vocal with some light guitar to close out the album, leaving us wondering where the sound of the Futurebirds will go next.
In the end, this album’s pros outweigh its cons, and the Futurebirds deliver a great sounding album with plenty of catchy lyrics and riffs while staying true to the influences that got them to where they are today.