It’s great when a band throw you a bit of a curveball like the minimalistic, ambient intro of And You Brutus. I’m looking at their image of five bearded bar room savants and thinking that somewhere along the line a music file has been mislabelled and I’m trying to match up sounds which seems to have drifted in from a West Coast, new age studio or a student bedroom from Minneapolis. But then the song starts in earnest, the world comes into focus and everything makes sense again as southern twanging guitars and four-four country-rock backbeats build to more expected soundscapes.
But I mention this for good reason as whilst Cranford Hollow do a neat line in heartland rock, deep-fried country grooves tempered with folk vibes and rich in melody, there is an unexpected payoff in the attention to detail, the musical texturing and layering of sounds that runs beyond the intro and into the song proper.
The beats are solid, the vocals confident and the guitars drive unfussy riffs across the top of the song but as I said the devil is in the detail and there is some wonderful blending of picked rhythms and drifting guitar lines running through the middle.
The style may be familiar, but not every band or song has to push new boundaries, though having heard some of the other songs from this same album Color/Sound/Renew/Revive, there is plenty of forward thinking to be had as well. If it is enough to rework what has gone before into new shapes and do it better than most then Cranford Hollow more than justify their existence. And anyway, I don’t remember Mellencamp or The Band throwing too much Latin about.