It is my well-informed opinion that thoughts on The Strumbellas new album, My Father And The Hunter, would best be written while under the influence some type of drug. Mind you, I’m speaking of a substance that was grown in the ground, not one manufactured in a trailer house with blacked out windows (sorry for the stereotyping, Meth Heads), but one that might produce flowers and pretty leaves along with psychedelic properties.
My thinking is that a drug that petitions your heart and mind to open might make it easier to take this in. Upon first listen, my interest was piqued and upon subsequent listens I’m realizing, hey man, I’m not the sheriff here. Who am I to tell you what to imbibe before wrapping your melon in headphones and getting acquainted?
Amidst the raucous yet well-polished indie folk rock/alt-countrysounds emerging from The Strumbellas on My Father And The Hunter are songs that defy their upbeat tone and carry heavy loads. Talk of marriage and babies, redneck fights involving shotguns and the loss of big toes, and other various affairs that are already so well dealt with by those born, raised, and making music in the backwoods of America, permeates this album and yet, The Strumbellas hail from Canada, otherwise known as America’s responsible, classy cousin that hides her alcohol consumption so much better than we. What a bitch…
But in the years since 2009, when their debut self-titled pack of jams was released, the band has matured while touching on bits and pieces that would prove too heavy for your everyday band and their brand of self-described ‘folk popgrass’ belies the stories contained on their latest album.
As a resident of the of the Buckle of the Bible Belt, I can attest that this shit can kill man. I mean, have you fucking seen ‘Winter’s Bone’? And yet here, it’s wrapped in vocals that were first dipped in perfection before laid to tape, making it all perfectly bearable. The stomps, handclaps, the banjo, the violin, and these sing-alongs (7 band members strong), carry the feel of a turn of the century family who lived these things and must sing about them to exorcise those demons. My Father And The Hunter is soaked in anomalies but ones that work…and work very well.
(The Strumbellas perform “I’m Not The Sheriff” for CXCW. As stellar as knees on a bee.)
In all honesty, the layout of the last three tracks on the album — “Underneath A Mountain”, with its gorgeous violin riff there in the beginning, so reminiscent of the Ozark Mountain Daredevils “Road To Glory”, “Diane”, and the southern gospel-tinged “Carry My Body” — on this album are so perfect in sound, lyric, and timing in relation to each other, that if those three were isolated and released as an EP, that alone would be enough to reserve a spot for this effort on the year-end best of list that’s still months and months away.
Obviously, we here highly recommend this album. And a word of note: Give these tracks a chance. Take a whole of two fucking minutes and listen to every second, as the best bits are buried there in the middle of this awesome sandwich. For example, please see “Left For Dead”.
The Strumbellas :: I Just Had A Baby [mp3]
The Strumbellas :: Underneath A Mountain [stream]
The Strumbellas :: Left For Dead [stream]