Hollis Brown – Ride On The Train {album review}

by Woody on March 6, 2013


Named after a Dylan tune, it would be tough to imagine this Brooklyn quartet having anything but a sound befitting that era. While they might be massive Dylan fans, their sound owes more to Credence than anything else. The way songs effortlessly chug along without ever getting frenzied is pure magic. The fact that they are able to make their sound fresh and exciting is a testament to them and producer Adam Landry (Deer Tick).

My old man gave me some good advice when I was young – Keep It Simple Stupid. I’m not saying that Hollis Brown’s songs are simple, nor are they stupid. But they concentrated on what they did well and didn’t lose sight of that. There is no bullshit here. Songs are built on the foundation of big riffs and a rock solid rhythm section. Lead singer, Mike Montali, has a voice that will appeal to fans of Delta Spirit and Deer Tick. While John McCauley and Matt Vazquez can unleash a howl every now and then, Montali’s delivery is much more measured in its approach.

The video below of Gypsy Black Cat gives a great feel of what you’re getting from this band. It is stripped down and is as honest a tune as you’ll get today. The harmonies on this tune and their others don’t sound like angels. Rather they give the sound of a life lived; somewhat strained but full of depth. The soundcloud widget for Down On Your Luck shows the band letting it loose on a rocking three minute jam that would not feel out of place at a Fillmore show in the early 70s.

If you are a fan of Deer Tick, Ha Ha Tonka or Delta Spirit; run don’t walk to pick this up. Their debut out via the fine folks of Alive/Naturalsound is something to behold. They are going to be down at SXSW and you can catch them here.

3/13: SXSW @ J. Black’s (Deli Hangover Hideout), 6:30pm
3/15: SXSW @ Javelina (NFT Official Showcase), 9pm
3/16: SXSW @ The Lodge (Rethink Pop Music), 4:30 pm
3/16: SXSW @ Papi Tino’s (Brooklyn Country Cantina), 6pm

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