BY LEE ZIMMERMAN
Kudos to Band of Heathens for working their way into the spotlight, from an initial bunch of semi-insurgents to a group so polished and professional that they can make an album like Sunday Morning Record actually appear to echo its title. Not that they didn’t boast an auspicious entrance; their first studio efforts were widely praised in Americana circles before subsequently soaring to the top of the charts, thanks in large part to the fact that each of its members were talented singer/songwriters in their own right.
Given that fact, it’s not surprising that this, their fourth studio album to date, sounds so assured. Accessible to a fault, and exceedingly mellow to boot, it flows with a natural ease usually accomplished by those with far more track time under their belts. From the graceful opening lines of “Shotgun,” through to the final wistful refrains of “Texas,” Sunday Morning Record proves its mettle as both a set of songs that’s radio-ready, and a disc that might even offer sweet salvation on a particularly demanding morning after. Only “Miss My Life,” a sampling of judicious honky-tonk which recalls Elton John’s bombastic “Honky Cat,” and “Shake the Foundation,” a southern stomp and shuffle, breaks the embrace, and even then, not for long.
Clearly, Band of Heathens have evolved into a band of first rate contenders. Seven years on, they’ve earned all admiration they been able to muster.
DOWNLOAD: “Shotgun,” “Texas,” Shake the Foundation