by Janet Goodman
February 7. 2014 – “The further into life you get, the more you realize that life isn’t black and white, and that there are millions of shades of grey in between,” says Ed Jurdi, member of Americana-leaning The Band Of Heathens. On the Austin band’s fourth and latest studio project, “Sunday Morning Record,” they explore just these kinds of subtleties, in perhaps their most understated effort to date. Their 2011 “Top Hat Crown And The Clapmaster’s Son” album garnered my review that it “is all the time about the band’s musicality and groove. It’s vibrant with a capital V.” Still about musicality and groove, they have taken things down a notch here, and the sound is now easy with a capital E.
Released on their BOH Records label, the band’s album shows a natural evolution, undoubtedly stemming, in part, from a change in the lineup. Three members left since “Top Hat;” new drummer Richard Millsap and various bass players join original members – songwriters/musicians/vocalists Jurdi and Gordy Quist, and Trevor Nealon – and along with producers George Reiff and Steve Christensen, they’ve put together a stripped back, introspective collection of eleven tracks.
Interesting musical transitions within songs stand out, such as the waltz/shuffle combo in opener “Shotgun,” but the meat of the album reveals solid growth. Celtic drum and guitar is squared with lilting harmonies on “Girl With Indigo Eyes,” and remember-when song “Records In Bed” is lots of bass and slippery lap steel with a psychedelic outro. “Since I’ve Been Home” is tender and exquisite in a Beatles’ “Blackbird” kind of way. This band never tries too hard to impress, which creates an attractive welcome-mat soundscape for listeners.
Visit their website www.bandofheathens.com
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