Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Samuel Locke Ward and the Boo Hoos / Mumfords self released split

Samuel contacted me a while back with a full length he did with Darren Brown, From the Privilege of the Grave I remember it being a pretty sprawling, acoustic/experimental piece. Dark and folky.
I read his description on this insert how he's '...changing musical styles faster than most can be bothered to keep up with', and after listening it's completely true...well except for the part about no one keeping up. With the addition of the Boo Hoos on these three tracks he's taking an entirely new direction, it's a dense, concise, punk with plenty of attitude and growling guitars...all still grounded by his songwriting. It's great to be able to experiment like this, to know that the guy who created From the Privilege...can also dig into the goofy indie rock for a bit and record at a vintage clothing store in Ceder Falls, IA. I appreciated that Jay could go from Terror Visions, or the Reatards to his Blood Visions work. It only helped the work in the end to try on all these bands, and keep surprising yourself.

Samuel and the Boo Hoos Side Starts out with 'When it's gone (it's gone)' there's a distance plate echo on Samuels vocals, singing about an office guy and his regrets while this 5 piece is rocking this catchy pop punk tune. It's a bit like Harmacy when you take that foundation of songwriting and then go record a straight up pop album. The band and that collaboration come up with complex tracks that flesh out the foundation of Samuel's songwriting.

'Tell it to the man of diminishing clout' has a great alternating big distorted riff, while Samuel has that same far off yelling-into-that-punk-void between the power chords with a little bit of phaser warble. Great guitar melody on this one, getting dirty and anthemic like a Dino Jr solo.

Haunt you has a great rhythm guitar, rumbling away and Samuel's continuing that hoarse, open mouth delivery. He's reminding me again of Jay, getting into this head, taking on the alientated personality, screaming die die die die die die, with that indie jangle and grunge place the home recorded 4 trackers got to by the late '90s. It's a classic sound these guys pull off really well, completely great 3 song EP. He's got all kinds of interesting moves up his sleeve and you better believe I'm catching these guys Thursday at The Cakeshop.

On the flipside, the Mumfords 'The way that I live' on the other side go all out on one epic track, an intimately small room recorded somber track that showcases Nate's vocals and the packed Dave Berman style lyrics. Completely clever and darkly funny, it takes a few listens to realize (spoiler alert) that it's about a serial killer who's trying to relate to the listener repeating: '...and if you live the way that I live...' and imparting a little advice about the hunt to the young serial killers gathered around their turntable speakers. It's carefully crafted pop-folk that throws you off when you eventually realize where these vocals are going, describing this characters single minded goal of getting away with it. It's a demented kind of traditional country ballad filtered through Calexico, classic horns creeping up, supporting the guitar melody, turning it into a kind of theatrical story song. It's taking a small orchestra to create this unsettling vision, and that might be the scariest thing of all.

Get the single or the tracks from Samuel's bandcamp page.

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