Dragons – Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

Reviewing any form of creative output is difficult. What is considered brilliant by one is often considered rubbish by another, our all-time favourite movies, books or albums will no doubt vary from person to person and the old saying of not believing what you hear or read is very true (particularly when it comes to promotional blurb).

Often albums come with an accompanying written piece giving info on the act, the subject matter of their music and maybe a brief bio, you get buzz words and punchy statements such as “the next big thing!” or “may we introduce you to your new favourite band” but these words are – and should be – taken with a pinch of salt but when the music is as accomplished as Drew Halcomb and The Neighbors’ new album, maybe you can put a little stock into the promises.

There is something within these ten songs that will appeal to fans of country, Americana, folk or people like their music with a more grown up feel.

Opening with the Paul Simon-esque ‘Family’ that boasts a catchy chorus and stompy rhythm and percussion you know you’re in the hands of a master song writer and through the following songs this bold statement is backed up.

‘End of the World’ has BBC Radio 2 written all over it, echoing backing vocals, full drums and a solid chorus and middle eight, it’s a big song by a big band and acts as a step up from ‘Family’ before we head feet first into the smoky, laid back feel of love song ‘But I’ll Never The Way You make me Feel’. It’s a love song for those who have experienced love and appreciate the difference it makes to our lives. The song features Drew Holcomb’s wife, Ellie, to add an easy, Nora Jones lightness to keep things just the right side of sugar sweet.

Throughout the album is enough variation and good ideas to keep listeners interesting, there is a feeling of a settled songwriter plying his trade, singing about his immediate surroundings and where he sits in the world, being a part of a family, a homeowner and it’s difficult not to sit back and enjoy singing along.

‘You Make it Look So Easy’ has the light rock feel of The Killers with the rhythm matching the feel of a road trip, taking in the vast landscapes of America and somehow always ending up at a guitar solo. I could be clever and say Holcomb makes song writing sound easy but I’ve never been one for clever connections.

So, will this feature in anybody’s all-time favourite albums list? I’ve no idea but with songs this good it’s worth an hour or two of your time to find out, and, who knows, you might just find your new favourite band.

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