The Last Bison
This album took me in for odd reason. The Music: Folky; The Vocals: Falsetto; and and overall feeling of rough unrefinement. Do they have un/intentional voice cracks you ask? Yeah, they have that too.
This is NOT a party album, nor are any of the independent songs on the album. This is a album of unconnected stories. It's a sit, drive, train (like "choo-choo" not "pumpin'; iron" listen. So don't pop this bad boy in and expect your guest to complement you on a good social gathering selection.
The album opens as a folky, banjo strummin', fiddle playing jam, and then rather quickly followed by a voice that can only be described as a cross between the singer from The Used (Bert McCracken...an interesting fella) and ol' so-and-so from Mumford, only not British (yet all the while thinking that if you didn't know he and his band mates were from Virginia, they could possibly be from a far off land).
Bison is a group of very talented and classically presented folk musicians. There is a sense of theater with their delivery of strings, bells, and light percussion that balance well with a heavy kick drum for balance.
I was introduced to them by their most popular song, "Switzerland," which if you judge them by radio play or charts, however (which should not be the test of any good band); is likely the only song you have ever heard from them. My daughter really seamed to love this track (so if you can't hack-it, it means your ears are more immature than a 4 year olds. It's a fun catchy song and great to dance in the kitchen too.
Downsides - They seem to be a bit of a one trick pony. Most of their songs while great, sound very similar and matched with a similar vocal track, making it hard to tell many of the songs apart unless you have listened to then many many many times. Don't get me wrong, the songs are not any less great because of their similarities, they are great because of them, but one has to wonder if they have a second album in them.
Two Tracks to Point Out:
1. "Tired Hands" - This song for some reason reminds me of a song in the theater...like where Lincoln was shot". It may be some of the surprising insertions of musical scales, or lyrics (to which I have no clue what he is talking about) that seem to be more spoken than sung, as if it was musical (many songs actually have this quality like the song that follows of "Take all the Time". But whatevs', I like-ie.
2. "Watches and Chains" - This song seems to be very personal to (Ben Hardesty). From what I get it seems to be a song about a chatty/gossipy town that speaks ill of the boy's hard working (supposedly) father who goes out to sells his wares (of watches and chains) and focusing on this "theology" and while he is away, the neighbors tell the boy and his mother that their father/husband is wasting his and their time and not providing for the family ("where's your meat, where's your fruit, where's you bread, have you eaten today, have you eaten today?). Then the mom would try to console the worried son (Ben, again, allegedly). Here is what I know (thanks to Wiki): Ben Hardesty, lead singer (there is also a sister in the band) grew up the son of a preacher, and likely lived a very religious and modest, if not rough, life and was subject to ridicule from the Town and neighbors who either thought differently than they did (religiously or otherwise). Here's the crazy part about the song, it ends with his dad coming home, telling him basically "to hell with the neighbors" and don't worry, and of course, read your bible.....then it just fucking ends. Just ends. Fuck you early ending *i'm ok...zen now*. Moral being: Fuck the neighbors?...who knows?.
Join me next time...when the Vamp is back......