Hit Your Head Music
If you like when Steve Earle really rocks out or those final albums from Joe Strummer when he was fronting the The Mescaleros then check out the latest EP from Hawke’s Bay band, Devil’s Elbow. Actually, while we’re at it, can someone give them a long-service award. They’ve been making music – of increasing quality – since 2007; in the social media era that’s like a quarter-century already.
I’m always interested in Devil’s Elbow but this new EP has really pinpointed my fancy with its best tickle finger.
Opener, Names, has all of that aforementioned rockin’ Steve Earle/Joe Strummer feel and sound, add in a bit of the pop-hooky-ness of Keith Richards’ X-Pensive Winos albums.
It’s where punk rock and alt-country most happily collide and Names even carries with it some of that great early/mid-00s melodic rock that the likes of Pete Yorn were doing so well.
So ,we’re in. First song – great.
Up next is Heaven or Bust. And it’s got more of the overt alt-country flavours with singer/guitarist Alec Withers adding mandolin and guitarist Andrew Pearce doubling on accordion. It’s like some of the-period Springsteen highlights (Magic) with some good old-fashioned pub-rock guitar solos atop. Good times indeed.
Elastic Plane is a sprawling ballad that reminds me in part of some of the late-80s/early-90s Robert Plant solo material. Withers has such a good grasp of melodic rock, mid-tempo glory.
Closer, Kingsley Flats, is a languid instrumental to close – calm, nearly meandering, but in a lovely way; it’s as if someone was charged with taking one of David Gilmour’s instrumental tracks and ‘making it country’.
There’s just a lot of class on display here, great work from all band members, great writing, arrangements and production. Be sure to catch them on tour as they plug this new EP and dig deep from the back-catalogue too no doubt.
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