on their self-titled studio debut, the Band of Heathens were cast into the
company of retro wannabes whose good intentions did little to single them out
from the competition. It’s fortuitous,
then, that with their sophomore set they morph their roots rock regimen into a
potpourri of blues, soul and a swampier sound.
still allude to that other “Band, the Band, of course, and the new
album’s “L.A. County Blues,” “What’s This World” and “Look At Miss Ohio” clearly reaffirm
those references. However, this time
around they expand their parameters, taking a journey up the Mississippi with “Golden Calf,” jockeying up
like an old time gospel choir on “Shine a Light” and taking a funk-fueled
furlough via “You’re Gonna Miss Me” and “Somebody Tell Me The Truth.” Switching up the tempo from the sound of unhurried
shuffles to weary refrains, the group provides the usual rustic embellishment –
banjo, Wurlitzer piano, dobro, mandolin, lap steel and forlorn vocals – as to
affirm their intent towards a retro feel.
An album that echoes their down-home resolve, One Foot in the Ether finds them putting their best foot forward.
tracks: “Golden Calf,” “Shine a Light” LEE ZIMMERMAN