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Audrey Horne: Youngblood

I grew up listening to classic hard rock by Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Cream, and The Who. Even though I listen to far more heavy metal these days, I still love the warm, blues-influenced, sound of those bands. They, and others like them, played with heart and passion that isn't always as evident in contemporary music. To me, Audrey Horne's latest is really an extended tribute to that mixture of warmth and passion. I enjoyed it and I think that other listeners will, too. Here's what to expect: a hard rock album carved from old trees, songs played at a medium, groovy, tempo, blues-soaked guitar solos, and riffs and harmonies worthy of the 1970s. The band's Wikipedia page describes them as a post-grunge and a hard rock band. That isn't quite right. I don't hear grunge on this album so much as music forged in the fires stoked by an earlier generation of players; at times, I thought of Molly Hatchet, UFO, and even REM as I listened (Toschie's voice has Michael Stipe's richness and yearning), but even those comparisons aren't quite right. This is a straight up hard rock album, a tribute to a sound and not to any particular band.

Some of the best tracks on this album ("Redemption Blues" and "Straight into Your Grave") are strong precisely because they play up the hard rock sound with a great deal of admiration and fun. Take, for example, the hand-clapping near the end of the second track. Such effects would likely be seen as ironic these days, a distant commentary on the past and its impact. With these guys, though, the hand claps are there because they need to be, adding a new layer of rhythm and sound to keep things fun and interesting. Other highlights on this album are the middle tracks "Show and Tell," "Cards With the Devil" and "Pretty Little Sunshine." The latter track, by the way, has a killer bass riff near the end where as well as an extended and exciting twin guitar harmony. As you enjoy the music on this album, be sure to listen to the lyrics. There's nothing new here thematically, but Audrey Horne certainly knows how to infuse new life into familiar tales of bravery, loss, love, and betrayal. For me, "This Ends Here" was probably the coolest blend of music and lyrics, a song filled with images of sailing, courage, and grit. I loved it.

Track Listing:
1. Redemption Blues
2. Straight into Your Grave
3. Youngblood
4. There Goes a Lady
5. Show and Tell
6. Cards with the Devil
7. Pretty Little Sunshine
8. The Open Sea
9. This Ends Here
10. The Kind is Dead

Added: December 29th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 8943
Language: english

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