A horrible hack

The Brown Hound James Band

At The Home Of The Heartlands

Year Released: 2012
Format: CD
Label: Bombed Out Records
 
Reviewed by MH on Dec 9, 2012
This is the debut album from The Brown Hound James Band who feature Matthew Broadbent who was in Dugong and Nathaniel Green. Based on how much I have liked his previous bands the chances of me not liking this album were always going to be somewhere between zero and zero especially as I was already very impressed with the 2 songs I had previously heard. The band itself is a beefed-up version of Brown Hound James under which moniker Matthew has played solo in the past. The band is interchanging and features a bunch of folk from other UK bands like Pylon, The Dauntless Elite and other former members from Dugong.

Opener "The Rivers Keepsake" hints at a more mature sound than Dugong - it is a mellow-sounding track with a hint of the more recent stuff by The Gaslight Anthem about it. The vocals are very familiar and that was always one of Dugong's strong points for me. "Just Like The Old Man Said" is stellar - a positive, hopeful song that I have been playing to death. There is plenty of variety on this album too. "Lonely Son" is one of the songs I had previously heard and gives the album a kick with its faster pace and defiant lyrics - a definite standout. It's probably the nearest thing to a punk rock song on here. There are also some more stripped-down tracks on here which recall Nathaniel Green ("Heart In Your Singing" and "Old Guitar" are both superb) although he sings with a bit more power than he did on Nathaniel Green's output. "City Lights Come Down Tonight" is another rockier tune. This one revolves around a keyboard riff. Itís a great song and perhaps my favourite on here. The sad, acoustic beauty of "Wider Than A River" closes the album on a high.

Nice and varied all round - you get indie rock (some gentle, some with a punk rock hint), stripped down acoustic stuff, sad songs and even a bit of a country influence along the way. I've been giving this plenty of listens and there are some great tunes and melodies. This is a really good album that is elevated by at least 5 of the songs which I would say are up there with the best he has written. If you like any of the bands I have mentioned, particularly his older bands, plus the likes of Protectors and The Weakerthans this is definitely worth a go.


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