Is It You, Is It Me – Dustbowl Revival (reviewed by T. Bebedor)

It’s quite often you hear a band claim that they want to “push the boundaries”, “blur the edges” and “take their music into a new direction”, sometimes it can be just idle chat to get the listening world to take notice but sometimes it does happen. David Bowie made a career of ripping up the past and choosing to go in a new direction, he’d bringing in new musicians to suit this change in taste and risk his army of fans in the process, but not everything has to be so abrupt.

Take six-piece LA-based Americana band ‘Dustbowl Revival’, not content with the description I just used, they wanted a sound that reflected the influences they have within the bands music, it’s a combination of Americana and rock but thrown together with folk, soul and a spattering of brass. Why be Americana when you can be so much more?

Written over two weeks, the tracks on the album are very strong, produced by Sam Kassirer (who has previously worked with one of my favourite bands ‘Lake Street Dive’) the album feels as if there are lots of plates spinning at once but the band hold it all together well, fitting in the different parts with ease.

There is a feeling of ‘Magic Numbers’ here and there but I think is down to the shared vocals from Liz Beebe and Z. Lupetin and the way the music can twist and turn in rhythm. It’s an accomplished album and has it’s fair share of highlights in ‘Dreaming’, ‘Penelope’, ‘Runaway Chorale’ and ‘Ghost’ (which has a slight ska feel to it).

At times the songs can feel a little over-long – I’m talking by thirty or forty seconds, this isn’t Pink Floyd – and I’m not convinced by the intro to ‘Nobody Knows’, it’s marching band drums doesn’t sit quite right (but I’m not a drummer so what do I know?) which is strange considering that the drums are strong throughout, often having to adapt to changing rhythms.

This is a good album from a good band who are clearly happy to challenge themselves and not sit on their laurels. In the already crowded arena of American bands playing this kind of music it’s refreshing to hear something that dares bring in other flavours, if it will find the audience it deserves remains to be seen but if this is what the band can do on record, they must be a great band to experience live.

Find it, download it and give it a listen because this is a few notches above the average.

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