Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 25: Beasts Of Bourbon, "Little Animals"

Artist: Beasts Of Bourbon
Album: Little Animals
Year: 2007
Label: Albert

If there is one thing that Australians do VERY well, it is their masterful approach to the true definition of the term “hard rock.” While many Aussie punk bands have been influential throughout the world, aside from AC/DC, most people can't name another band from "down under." When Kim Salmon wasn’t working solo or with his host of bands (The Scientists, The Surrealists, etc), he found the time to assemble ultra-cool rockers, Beasts Of Bourbon. Though they release albums about once a decade, their 2007 release, Little Animals, is nothing short of phenomenal.

The band, which basically began as a “bar” band for Salmon, yet was easily one of his finest musical vehicles before he departed the band in 1994. Pushing all gimmicks and experimentation to the side, Beasts of Bourbon take the age old formula of simple, dirty, blues driven rock and roll, and it works perfectly. The production is clean, in that it is well recorded, but the grittiness of the sound remains. This helps to promote the mood of the band being crammed into the corner of your favorite bar, wailing away to anyone who will listen. The band are very disciplined in their playing, rarely straying far from the core of the tune. However, the band certainly has a sense of humor, as is evident in the albums' closing tune, "Thanks."

The music of Beasts Of Bourbon is as straightforward as rock and roll gets. Proving that crushing riffs, growling vocals, and a powerful, steady beat is all you need for incredible rock and rock, Little Animals is a refreshing return to a classic sound. The dual guitar of the band provide the drive, while thumping bass and crisp drums complete the simple, time tested, rock sound. The band has the resonance of a typical “bar” band, but their tone is pure, kick-your-teeth-in rock. From off-the-rails rockers like "The Beast I Came To Be" to deep, blues tunes like "New Day Of The Dead," Beasts Of Bourbon shine brilliantly with a modern, yet classic sound.

To be frank, Tex Perkins has the perfect “rock star” voice. An even balance of croon and growl enables Beasts Of Bourbon to have one of the most stunning overall sounds in music today. Penning all of his own lyrics, Perkins is well aware of what he sounds best singing about and the theme of “women, wine, and song” permeate Little Animals. Perkins has the soul of a classic blues singer, yet is voice is so aggressive and rough that it fuses perfectly with the dynamic music over which he sings.

Australian bands have immense difficulty breaking into the world market due to their geographical isolation. However, from AC/DC to The Birthday Party, they prove time and time again that they are among the best when it comes to down and dirty rock and roll. Throwing modern production techniques to the curb, Beasts of Bourbon stay true to their sound and deliver rock and roll that is as good as it gets. Though it began as a "one off" project, Beasts Of Bourbon represent rock music in its purest form, and their album, Little Animals, is not to be missed.

Standout tracks: “I Told You So,” “Sleepwalker,” and “Too Much Too Late.”

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