For many of us here at The Revue, we are unabashedly fans of Indiana quartet Houndmouth. Having witnessed their growth from the early days as they played at the plentiful festivals across North America, we have come to appreciate their honest and respectful take of folk, roots-rock, and Americana. And while their popularity has increased over the past couple of years, Matt Myers (guitar), Katie Toupin (keyboard), Shane Cody (drums), and Zak Appleby (bass) remain humble and down to earth. They are open and friendly in person, and on stage the chemistry between the four is unrivaled, thanks in large part to all four sharing the songwriting and singing chores. It’s this mutual respect for one another’s talents that is exuded on stage and in their interactions with fans.
On Tuesday, they will release their second album, Little Neon Limelight (Rough Trade Records US / RTR UK, iTunes, Amazon). It’s a slightly more expansive album than their stellar debut, so how will we feel about it? Will we still be infatuated with the band after we spin the album and give our First Impressions? Will want to see them again during their tour (see below for tour dates)?
As you read our thoughts, you can also stream the album on NPR until Monday night.
Houndmouth are the kind of band you’ll fall in love with the first moment you hear them. They have tons of energy and that comes through on Little Neon Limelight. The first three tracks, “Sedona”, “Otis”, and “15 Years” is one of the strongest runs to open an album all year. The pace changes with the heartfelt “For No One” before cranking it back up with “Black Gold” and “Honey Slider”, my early favorite track on Little Neon Limelight. I also really dig “Say It”, a swingin’ and screamin’ rocker and the sweet closer, “Darlin'”. A definite thumbs up from me.
Houndmouth will be at SXSW this year along with Will Butler, who we reviewed last week. My ‘must see live’ list continues to grow and stresses me out a bit, as I definitely need a clone next week. After listening to Little Neon Limelight, I just want to get in a vintage pick-up truck and drive on a long, country dirt road (which actually are not hard to find in Texas) with the windows down while listening to this album. With everyone sharing the load on this album from songwriting to vocals, it could come across as scattered – but it’s surprisingly cohesive.
“Sedona” is a great way to kick off the album. Other stand out tracks for me are “For No One” which slows things down a bit and I agree with Rich and Ben – the first three tracks are great openers to the album. One of my other favorites is “Gasoline”. This is an album I will definitely be spending more time with. Thumbs up for me.
It’s always impressive to hear a Houndmouth album. With each band member having a hand in the songwriting and taking on the role as lead vocalist, it could lead to a disjointed album. This fear is alleviated within the first four songs of the album – the upbeat and nearly euphoric trio of “Sedona”, “Otis”, and “15 Years”, the latter which is fitting for a saloon sing-along, followed by the folky “For No One”. The tracks perfectly complement one another, which evidences the band’s chemistry. Even within each single, such as the country-esque ballad, “Honey Slider” and the joyous root rockers “My Cousin Greg” and “Say It”, you can hear how each member complements the other, vocally and musically. No one musician stands out, instead you hear a band working together as a single whole. No wonder Houndmouth have been compared to The Band. A thumbs up from me on this fun album that should be enjoyed with friends, whether close ones while enjoying some beverages at home or complete strangers while enjoying some cold ones at your favorite drinking hole.
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