Having recently had a look at The Weeks video for album teaser ‘Talk Like That’ I have been waiting with bated breath for this much-anticipated album release. The waiting is over and the anticipation has turned to expectation. Don’t you just love that moment when you get to hit the play button and all is revealed? It’s not quite the same as sitting the needle in the groove but maybe that’s just me showing my age.
Easy was recorded over two weeks at Ardent Studios in Memphis and got its name because the band find it so easy to play music together. Primarily the plan was to record a rock record and not necessarily a southern rock record, but being natives of Mississippi the southern thing is always going to be part of it. Recording at Ardent Studios must also have flavoured the mix as it was here that bands like REM, ZZ Top, The Replacements and early sessions from The White Stripes all recorded and left their mark, and in some cases left gear. There was even room on the album for a few songs using Elvis Presley’s microphone.
‘Talk Like That’ is the lead track and as it ends the expectation I have for the album only increases as the jangle of guitar is joined by organ on the introduction to ‘Ike’ before the heavy and honest vocal of frontman Cyle Barnes completes the story. And storytelling is what these songs are all about. Recorded after five years of touring these songs tell the stories of places, people and relationships encountered along the way.
The quirky pop guitar intro on ‘Start It Up’ caught me off guard but it’s not long before the southern rock DNA takes over and gets its groove on in a story of unlikely and long-term love. ‘Hands On the Radio’ is the story of a relationship gone cold, told from the perspective of a radio long forgotten and gathering dust. This song has the surprise inclusion of a horn section and a lovely Van Morrison feel to it.
‘Bottle Rocket’ really turns up the southern rock groove and ‘Gold Doesn’t Rust’ is a wonderfully self-indulgent look at the motives for doing what they do. Simply because they love doing it. The storytelling continues throughout the remaining tracks. ‘Ain’t Dancin’’ has an almost 60s sound while final track ‘Don’t Be Sad’ has a real folk feel to it with the organ almost making it sound like a hymn of hope.
Being recorded in such a short time gives this album a real live sound to it. Its high spots will have you dancing and its lower points will give you time to gather your thoughts and your energy for sticking it on repeat and doing it over and over again.