Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Henry's Funeral Shoe

Henry's Funeral Shoe
Everything's For Sale

By now, the whole two-piece rock phenomenon doesn't pack the punch that it once did. It has been proven time and time again that two musicians can bring enough to the table to suffice for a full band sound and folks aren't as easily blown away as they once were. Therefore, bands that choose to go this route are forced to put a hell of a lot more blood, sweat, and tears into songwriting and musicianship just to stand out in the crowd. Like most other two-piece rock outfits in the Alive Records arsenal, Henry's Funeral Shoe remain deeply rooted in the blues rock traditions, at the same time bringing something refreshing and new to the genre with a great ear for hook-laden songwriting and tremendous musical talent.

In a nutshell, these Welsh rockers are not as gritty and don't kick you in the teeth as do several of their Alive brethren including the Black Diamond Heavies and Left Lane Cruiser. They fall more along the lines of early Black Keys, if the Black Keys grew up listening to a lot more of the Who and other British powerhouses. With Everything's For Sale, Henry's Funeral Shoe keeps things simple, with a large emphasis placed on the melody of the guitar riffs themselves and the tones used by guitarist/vocalist Aled Clifford. The guitar work is warm, fuzzy at times, and heavily steeped in the blues, reminiscent of early Peter Green and Marc Ford. Vocally, Aled Clifford sounds a great deal similar to the late, great Shannon Hoon and even a smidgen like Jon Spencer from time to time. Aled's younger brother, Brennig fills the percussive duties that are very heavy on the tom-toms and kick drum, which thickens the low end of things for the overall mix of the album itself. Highlights for me include, "Down the Line" and "Stranger Dig" that bring a Southern, delta blues feel in the mix, complete with mean slide guitar work that would bring a smile to John Lee Hooker's face. Another standout track is "It's a Long Way" which is much darker than their other material on the album, reminding me somewhat of a Morphine tune. Everything's For Sale winds down in the end with "Mary's Song", a beautiful, acoustic number complemented with light harmonica and brush work on the snare drum.

Henry's Funeral Shoe is a band that I have been hearing about for a while and this debut was damn sure worth the wait in the end. A band couldn't ask for a better sound than what was achieved on Everything's For Sale and I feel that they are only hitting the tip of the iceberg with this one. I am sure that Henry's Funeral Shoe and Alive Records have great things planned for us in the future and all we can do now is sit on our asses and wait patiently. -Andrew Bryant

No comments: