Wild Desperation, Drunkalong Singalogue, Empty Spaces, The Big Gun Show
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., April 25, 2014
Wild Desperation, debut solo EP from B.E. Godfrey, former frontman for exemplary Houston indie band listenlisten, launches on a warped, dark, subterranean note. "Get Your Gun" burrows with an intense bassline that by close erupts into a funky groove, unsettling behind Godfrey's soft, nasal twang. The five-song offering thus reflects the stylistic drift of its producer, Robert Ellis, as it turns through murder ballads and patterns of dread, such as the sorrowful "Regret" or harrowing "Into the Abyss," all trembled with Phosphorescent-inflected vocals. Grizzly Adams Family likewise cuts an eclectic swath on the local sextet's debut, Drunkalong Singalogue, capitalizing on Chris Mosley's jazz background as they direct into folk-pop. At best, "3 More Weeks (of Amnesty)" hearkens Wild Child's easy infectiousness, but the diverse rhythms never congeal behind the frenetic jam of "Strange Ship," easy listening "Persephone," or spacey "Brave Words." Following up a 2012 full-length debut, stringers Lost & Nameless dish a third EP. Recorded in Nashville, Empty Spaces captures the energetic talent of the local quartet, even if the overall songwriting remains weak. Young fiddler Kimberly Zielnicki, 2012 Old Settlers Youth Talent Competition winner, shows promise on the opening title track, in duet on "Monsters We Become," and vocally on "Aiden's Lullaby," but save for the closing instrumental breakdown "Coffee/Lime Rock," Lost & Nameless don't provide much substance for their string virtuosity. Similarly, the Big Gun Show seems a better live outlet than recording band from the local quartet's eponymous debut. Kicking off with bar band roots rock on "When I'm Gone," clearly marked by Stones influence, its calmer ballads "More the War" and "Born to Lose" play less effectively, but "Border Patrol (I'm Bad)" closes with big bruising guitars worthy of Chris Collins' Twanguero!