The Upshot: Jack White-approved outfit offers decisive proof that Nashville is Music City USA and not Country Music City USA.
BY FRED MILLS
Let’s get some of the inevitable comparisons outta the way: on this young Nashville combo’s sophomore platter one encounters elements both overt and suggestive of the Rolling Stones (the earworm riffs), Quicksilver Messenger Service (the lyrical guitar ballets), the Byrds (the cosmic cowboy vibes), Big Star (the unusual melodic twists) and Tom Petty (the romantically drawling vocals). That’s no summary, though, ‘cos these cats have a slow-burn intensity that’s remarkable. No wonder Mr. White approached them early on to do a 45 for his Third Man label.
From the contrasting rootsy romance and psychedelic flourishes of opener “Push and Pull (All the Time)” and the intricate fingerstyle interplay that powers “Dialogue” (that’s fretboard virtuoso and labelmate Steve Gunn guesting) to the stomping power pop of “Golden Child” and extended closing gem “Within Sight,” which over the course of about six minutes morphs from an Untitled-era Byrdsian trope into a modal, Middle Eastern-meditation and finally into a wah-wah fueled garage raveup that just screams “set closer,” For Use and Delight lives up to its title.
In fact, the overall sound here—certainly one must single out the ghostly intimacy of the vocals, with the harmonies recalling better-known contemporaries Dawes and the subtle yet expansive keyboard fills at the arrangements’ edges are lovely—is good enough to draw the attention of the majors and their bigger budgets and bigger studios. Yet recall (just to cite one of the avatars listed above) Big Star’s Number One Record and how that ultimately didn’t need “bigger” or “bigtime” to achieve iconic status. These kids are doing just fine working in their chose scene and working with the ever-tasty NC label Paradise of Bachelors. More proof that Nashville is Music City USA and not Country Music City USA—and, indeed, this Jack White-approved outfit, with its sundry stylistic kinships and roster intersections with such decidedly non-twanging outfits as Pujol, JEFF the Brotherhood, The Ettes (whose own Jem Cohen is one of the producers) and Fly Golden Eagle, ably fulfills its role as a solid indie rock ambassador.
Promised Land Sound are clearly onto something special, and it’s going to be a fun ride to watch ‘em develop.
DOWNLOAD: “Within Sight,” “Golden Child,” “Dialogue”