4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
A skewed, impassioned rock album,
This review is from: AT DAWN (Audio CD)
Every good band needs something a tad unusual to differentiate them from the rest of the pack, but this exceedingly hirsute five-piece from Louisville, Kentucky go better than most. Their influences, so they say, range from Disney films and Muppets musical numbers, to the more conventional but nonetheless surprising Etta James and Nina Simone. They used to practice on a farm and their first successes sprouted from, of all places, the Netherlands. They're also partial to the occasional incongruous cover version (Rod Stewart, Bill Monroe). The lead singer is called Jim James and sounds a smidgen like a young Neil, er, Young.
"At Dawn" was one of two albums released in 2002 and is a delectable blend of southern-fried country, blues-y rock, semi-acoustic balladry and a Flaming Lips-style experimentalism that infuses the whole sound with a drifting, supernatural quality. The Kermit/Gonzo/Animal influence may not be readily apparent, but more discerning listeners would draw comparisons to Neil Young, a smattering of Lynard Skynard, and in places, souring atmospherics reminiscent of The Verve (albeit with a heavy country twang). The title track broods slowly from a hazy mélange of soft fuzz and percussion into a fiery acoustic mantra; "Lowdown" is relatively chirpy and buoyant; "Honest Man" is a sprawling, impassioned epic with muscle and groove.
As a whole, this is a beatific, rather skewed, supremely melodic mini-masterpiece. Sometimes rocking out, but mainly melancholy and downbeat, they've already shown they have a diverse sound but can nonetheless retain their own recognisable style. Ready for the taking, this is a sure sign they'll be on to much bigger things in 2003.