The Band of Heathens
One Foot in the Ether (BOH)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Sept. 18, 2009
The Band of HeathensOne Foot in the Ether (BOH)
Following fast on last year's eponymous studio debut, the Band of Heathens' sophomore effort asserts the local quintet as coherently evolved, the distinct songwriting styles of Gordy Quist, Colin Brooks, and Ed Jurdi melding into a singular sound. "L.A. County Blues" rolls open with an "illegal smile," a low-down ballad echoed in "What's This World." Electric guitars add calculated force, especially in the warped rodeo blues of "Golden Calf," the group's most expansive reach yet, while a Little Feet affinity slinks behind the organ of "Shine a Light," "You're Gonna Miss Me," and the scratched-out grit of "Somebody Tell the Truth." One Foot in the Ether proves the Band of Heathens more comfortable in its harmonies, subtle ("Hey Rider," "Let Your Heart Not Be Troubled") but usually complementarily rough, as with the cathartically soulful slant served Gillian Welch's "Look at Miss Ohio." Looseness prevails, but the Band of Heathens pushes its sound forward together.