Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Album Review: Billy Shaddox- I Melt, I Howl

Billy Shaddox
I Melt, I Howl
*** out of *****
Billy Shaddox plays "Cosmic American Music" and that is a pretty apt description of his latest offering I Melt, I Howl. His comfort zone seems to be more in the Americana side of things but producer Sam Kassirer has come in to help expand things on this solo release. The album, as well at the art containing it, conjures up nature, rolling rivers, climbing up and down mountains in physical and emotional forms.

The title track rolls at an easy pace with up beat rhythm and sunshiny guitars. The banjo lead "Feels Like Home" contains the strongest lyrics Shaddox presents with lines like "The heart is a simple beating muscle/a simple beating tool/and it's part of all that complicates us/make us be the fool" marking it as a highlight track when the organ and drums bubble up and support it.

Another winner is "Golden Coast" with its upbeat charm and rollicking bounce and texture. The disk closing "Not Easy Anymore" has a Tom Petty "You Don't Know How it Feels" vibe with the harmonica and big kick drum to end the disk.

It isn't Petty though who is the easy analogy for Shaddox, that comes in the form of Wilco. That groups style seems to be everywhere as Shaddox and Kassirer tap Tweedy and companies formula of mid-tempo pop with warm rhythms and the occasional odd addition. Tracks like "My Hands Don't Lie", "Telescope", "Story Of You And I" and "Leaves In Autumn" all feel extremely close to that acts style, fans of Wilco will find a lot to love on I Melt, I Howl.
Shaddox songs like the tender acoustic "Who You Were" are easy and drift by. In the end few stick around very long in your mind or ears, but like a quite stream another one rolls up and takes it place in a pleasant, if not world changing way.  
Support the artist here, buy the album here, stream the album here and peep some video below.

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