Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The city may be burnt, but the ashes aren't so bad.

Some odd years ago I came across a band known as As Cities Burn. Hearing Cody and his brother TJ trading off vocals like a firecracker tennis match floored me. After the next few hours--time I spent lifting myself from the carpet--I listened and listened until I could recite the music note for note, stanza by stanza. Then news came of their breakup, and my little heart shattered. I trudged through countless albums and bands hoping to light that old flame, but nope, nothing. Until they came back! TJ had gotten married and Cody took over vocals. Skeptical, I hesitantly clicked play. And wow. The next two albums demonstrated the band's dynamic musicianship so well that it felt like  I had three favorite bands. After Hell and High Water they officialy called it quits, leaving me with a trio of incredible albums.

Then, I heard something called Hawkboy which apparently has Cody and Aaron (drummer of ACB) in it. Wha?

Which brings me to this: a reunion with the carpet. Hawkboy, to me, did what Miles Davis did to the Jazz scene. Album after album, they blew me away. After the country-laden screamo debut album, the cool, ethereal, and bluesy tones of their sophomore attempt, and the uncompromising final cd, my expectations were definitely up there. 

Their new album, titled King Folly (which will include their previous 5 song ep), is a storm. The songs have that long sought after raw feeling, making it seem like you're in the room as they record. Tracks like "Wide Road" and "Gotta Get Out" have a crisp, homegrown aura, using acoustic guitar and drum tones so rich that you can feel the grains on the wood. Balancing out the track list, "Two Bit" and "Scoundrel" provide that eclectic, country-meets-computer sound, juxtaposing southern tone with synth and what sounds like a digital bass line. Then comes the remodeled version of "Pirate Blues" cleverly titled "Irate Blues." Kay, maybe it's not too clever, but I liked it. The latter sounds like a softened version of its predecessor, swapping screams for a muted guitar. It may seem like a simple change at first, until it hits the solo. Originally, I adored the well executed riff; it was nice. Now, I freak out because of how it seems to utilize every inch of my car stereo with a euphoric blend of wittiness and drive, as well as crisper than ice tone. You'll feel it.

Soooo yes, go listen to this band. It may take a few listens, but from my experience, those usually end up being the best bands. I promise I won't bore you with back story next time, and I'll even spend some time on the lyrics. This one seemed long enough without it. But still, goooo listen to Hawkboy. Or As Cities Burn. Every album is different, but they've all got something that's bound to get you hooked. Promise.