JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound

Howl (Bloodshot)

ACL Music Fest 2013 Sunday Reviews

JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound

Howl (Bloodshot)

Howl, the third album from Chicago's JC Brooks, is a deliberate departure from the throwback R&B of previous efforts, a raw, heart-on-the-sleeve breakup album every bit as indie rock and punk as it is soul, which turns out to be as much a detriment as the album's strength. "Not Alone" best embodies the band's self-described "post-punk soul," but the song lacks musical conviction and ends up out of place sandwiched between the disco-funk rollerskating jam "Before You Die" and stripped down Memphis soul of "River," a Stax-style ballad with obvious shades of Otis Redding. Rocking an Afro-pompadour, Brooks is a former stage actor with a flair for the dramatic. No surprise, then, that several ballads ("Ordinary," "Cold") seem well-suited for a Rocky Horror-style musical. Howl weaves a compelling narrative, but it'd be more interesting if Brooks embodied the title and channeled his inner Screamin' Jay Hawkins. (4:30pm, Zilker Tent stage)


More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
Folk Uke
Starfucker (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, Oct. 21, 2016

Texas Platters
Casual Strangers
Wedding Album (Record Review)

Michael Toland, Oct. 21, 2016

More by Thomas Fawcett
ACL Review: Gregory Porter
Gregory Porter
Harlem’s new Nat King Cole puts on a one-man jazz fest

Oct. 3, 2016

ACL Review: LL Cool J
LL Cool J
Ladies by the thousands still love Cool James

Oct. 2, 2016


JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound, ACL Fest 2013