Thursday, June 14, 2018

Album Review: No Dry County- Panhandle Music

No Dry County 
Panhandle Music
*** out of *****

No Dry Country are an outfit from Lubbock, TX that play a unique variation of Americana roots/rock mixed with blues influences all wrapped up with pop production, looking to break them out of their genre confines.

The four piece of Trent Langford (Lead Vocals/Guitar/Keys), Matt Newsom (Drums/Vocals), Dub Wood (Bass/Vocals) and Bristen Phillips (Guitars/Keys) have been at this for a while now releasing EP's and full lengths for about a decade but the scope and breath of Panhandle Music is their most complete offering yet.

The spooky western expanse comes to life on opener "Tucummcari" as the bands explores some Texas roots but that track is an outlier as the players are more comfortable going for bigger and brighter sounds as this record progresses. "Get Away" incorporates fun bass runs, "oo-oo" vocal chirps and a big blues rocking sound, while "When You Come Around" feels like a mid-eighties Tom Petty b-side with some killer lead guitar work.

The albums first single "Elvis Gun Runner" is a fantasy tale of a hallucinating trucker who feels he has the title job. Musically it is an exciting upbeat boogie-woogie with a driving beat sounding fresh containing excellent breaks.

The group started out as an 80's cover band and that style/production seeps in and causes a distinct sound as the vocals are clean, main singer/songwriter Langford sounds pristine, while guitars get distorted and languid at times. The instrumental "Mountains of Clouds" pumps up the arena riffs, leading perfectly into "On Our Own" which is chock full of classic rock cliches and singalongs. That clean/dirty mix might work best on the dusty distorted duet "Sheep In Wolves Clothing" but the vocals don't match the extra meaty blues stomping of "Sway" which is caught halfway between 70's thunder and 80's hair metal.

"15 Piece Band" is a waltzing highlight number containing a great lyric about a doomed from the start marriage calling to mind a Patterson Hood yarn, and when the long running album reaches its conclusion via the cinematic "Hey Thunder" the comparison is clearer. A more pop/80's rock influenced Drive-By Truckers sound, touching on various southern genres while spinning engaging tales filled with disappointment yet hope; No Dry County deliver a thoughtful Americana rock release with Panhandle Music.
Support the band, buy the album as it will be released on June 29th and peep some video below:

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