Sometimes music has an odd way of taking the listener to a different era with their style. This is what you’ll find in Canadian-based Americana/southern rock band Black Pistol Fire’s new album Hush or Howl. The band possesses a sound that has hints of The Black Keys and Creedence Clearwater Revival within it, making certain tracks interesting to listen to. However, as a whole, the sound is a little generic for the Americana scene, making it hard to distinguish one song from another.
The first three tracks of Hush or Howl are very similar in structure, making it hard to tell where one track ends and another begins. Usually something like this adds cohesiveness to the album as a whole. However, not adding much variety made me lose a little bit of interest. The album didn’t really spark my attention until “Your Turn to Cry”. The band lets some of their southern influences shine through, having a fun banjo groove. The use of banjos in music has made a comeback in recent times, with bands like Mumford and Sons spicing things up with its inclusion. I think the members of BPF did a good job of adding some variety to the album with this track, but not embellishing the banjo so much that it gets old. It’s clear the band wants to take a modern twist to the Americana and southern rock genres, and they do a good job with “Your Turn to Cry”.
Another example of placing a modern twist on the Americana scene can be felt in “Hipster Shakes”. The title alone includes some modern feel with the term “hipster”, given that the term really hasn’t been around that long. The chorus is a pretty prime example of a modern twist on Americana/southern rock, with “mama” and “hipster” being only a few lines apart from each other.
The very next track, “Run Rabbit Run”, begins with a cool drum pattern by Eric Owen. Overall, the song brings out the best within Owen and frontman Kevin McKeown. Though the track is pretty similar to others on the album, its chorus is catchy and the guitar and drums complement each other in a nice way. It has a nice buildup towards the end where McKeown’s vocals and Owen’s faster-paced drum pattern weave between each other and produce a nice cohesion.
Hush or Howl does a pretty decent job of adding a modern twist to the Americana/southern rock genre. As stated above, however, the album lacks variety in certain tracks, making them hard to distinguish from each other at some points. I appreciate that Black Pistol Fire tried putting a modern twist on a genre that isn’t heard as often anymore. However, Hush or Howl only consists of a few songs that really stand out to me.