Reviews for The Last Men on Earth...
Five Horse Johnson are the perfect example of a band that has strong beliefs and pays absolute loyalty to them without paying attention to anything that happens around them. And, believe me, in some cases (including this one), this is a good thing. Sure, throughout the years music has evolved with gigantic steps; computers that substitute a whole band, crystal-clear digital recordings, public acceptance. But these four bourbon-drenched dudes from Toledo, Ohio don't have a clue; they just donĂt care!
"The Last Men On Earth" reminds us the basics we probably have forgotten in the beginning of the 21st century. Noone denies that the need for innovation and experimentation is necessary, but sometimes we just want to listen to something familiar, something we'll just feel comfortable with. And Five Horse Johnson give us exactly that: dirty blues rock'n'roll with a touch of boogie and some punk attitude. I bet that these guysĂ blood contains alcohol way above the proper level on a permanent basis, and that their brain cells are forever infected by the sounds of classic bands like early Aerosmith, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd, ever since they made the "mistake" to take a listen and willingly give in. Not really much to say about this record and no need to highlight any particular songs; the tracks flow enjoyably and, if you're a fan of any form of rock music, you have to be deaf not to have a blast of a time listening to them. My only small objection, in comparison to their previous releases, is that in "The Last Men On Earth", IĂve missed the harp (whose presence is significantly reduced here) and the fast rock'n'roll rhythm (as almost all the songs are mid-paced here). These are minor details though, and can in no way reduce the feeling this album gives me as a whole.
If youĂre anxiously waiting for the next Alabama Thunderpussy release, or you still wonder what ever happened to gods Karma To Burn, Five Horse Johnson will give you some of what youĂre missing. Like they themselves describe their music, this is "rust belt rock for the drunk and downhearted". Need I say more?
Francoise MassacreMay, 2004monolith.gr
ROCK REPORT (BENELUX)
5 out of 6 stars
Toledo, OhioÓ overheated sand, warm beer & a smoking barbecue: the ideal setting for a slice of blood-red meat, your heavily tattooed sister, some fistfights later in the evening and a steamin' Five Horse Johnson CD in your car stereo with the windows of your favorite wheels wide open.
This is the 5th album of a band that has well and truly gotten into their stride. These beer bellied barflies play down-tuned, gritty low-slung boogie rock, penetrated by doses of vintage Aerosmith, ZZ Top, Lynyrd Skynyrd and everything blues from the wrong side of the Mississippi mud banks. But this time around however they have opted for a more a guitar
orientated sound and less blues harp.
"Cry Rain" starts this ride and the sledgehammers don't stop pounding 'till the bluesy "Yer Mountain" leaves you behind, slightly bewildered and gasping for air. But you'll want more and more and more. And before you know it you'll be part of The Boogie Coalition. A fine lot, indeed.
KVKMay 2nd, 2004rockreport.be
The world's best stoner blues boogie band is back with another slab of granite, this time choosing to record with a little less studio polish and shine than their last effort, and, although the songs may be a little shorter and more precise, the resultant rock has more of the sound of a live jam and more real feelings than a midnight emergency ward. These songs hit hard and fast, rock you with big riff hooks, and build it all on a canyon deep groove you can feel from across the room. As always, Eric Oblander, a giant of a big rock man in a sea of puny pebbles, wails and bends a vocal as blue as a Texas sky while his band of mighty men play real music anchored in traditions as old and deep as human sadness enlivened and amplified with the sounds of Sabbath and the decibels of AC/DC.
Glenn TillmanApril 7, 2004tangerinemagazine.com
THE CUTTING EDGE
Yet another shattering monster from this dedicated Toledo, Ohio four-some. Embracing heavy, chugging blues riffs ala ZZ Top meets Lynyrd Skynyrd FHJ explode into their fifth platter with both barrels blazing. "Cherry Red" goes right for the throat with a simple, intoxicating groove built around more of a '70s respect than a carbon copy. Eric Oblander's vocals flourish under the augmentation of "Three At A Time" and "B.C. Approved" sounding more the part of a whisky-soaked croaker in a Mississippi juke joint.
The guttural "Cry Rain" and the funk of "Sweetwater" show the band in fine form with Brad Coffin's solos echoing back to the classic Nugent/Schenker delivery. Yet, it is Oblander's leap as a blues singer in "Soul Digger," with the polish of a slick harmonica lick, that capitalizes on the band's time spent opening for R.L. Burnside and makes their foray into swamp blues far more legitimate.
"Yer Mountain" also makes dynamic use of the harmonica stain etched into a rightful bass-driven groove courtesy of Steve Smith and powerhouse drummer Mike Alonso. "Love 2 Lose" and "Blood Don't Pay" are riff-happy sing-along favorites but it's the wooly "Sawmill" that meets the devil in both lyrics and a lava-rutted guitar. Bringing to life a respected black history fused with urgent, bone-crushing hard rock Five Horse Johnson just may be the new millennium's Canned Heat.
Todd SmithApril 7, 2004thecutting-edge.net
As much as "stoner rock" often puts me to sleep, you gotta give a band credit where credit is due. Five Horse Johnson are new to these ears and right away they proved themselves to be one of the tightest rock bands out there. They deliver the goods as if they were sent in a time warp to the future, took notes and then incorporated them into the sounds of the 70's. The vintage feel is authentic here and mixed with a slight punk rock attitude, the results put a smile on my face.
Plus, these boys like to drink and that's always a plus in my book. It's sounds to me like these guys indulge in a healthy diet of Aerosmith, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and Jack Daniels. They've got riffs that just reek of classic rock and drums that are a little more groove laden than you're average drummer 30 years back. Despite the band's overall talent, drummer Mike Alonso takes the cake with his diverse and ultra smooth rhythms. His sense of groove is unparalleled in this genre, and the beats sound as though he's got five arms. Singer Eric Oblander isn't the world's greatest singer, but does well in this context. His gravelly croons are similar to, say, Clutch and portray that dirty Southern rock feel. But like any good band, every man does his job to the fullest potential and together they magically deliver some great rock and roll. There usually ain't too much to say about the current rock bands out there, but Five Horse Johnson were clearly born to rock, and I believe they could hold their own against the heaviest of heavy weights out there. And born straight outta the breeding grounds of Toledo, OH, this further establishes that the US is probably the leader of the pack in the rock world in terms of the quantity of great rock bands. I bet they are tremendous live as this music usually is. Put me in a smoke filled bar, drunk and swaying to the shit kickin' sounds of Five Horse Johnson any day. Another round, please?
RequiemMarch 19th, 2004metaljudgment.com
CLASSIC ROCK MAGAZINE (UK)
FIVE HORSE JOHNSON ű The Borderline, London - Classic Rock live review
Blues rock is both alive and lively in the 21st century ű and Five Horse Johnson are the genreĂs secret weapon. They might not have attracted too much attention so far, but if youĂre grabbed by the idea of early ZZ Top kicking over the dust with The Black Crowes while George Thorogood lurks in the shadows, then these are the boys youĂve been waiting for to ride into town.
From Toledo, Ohio, theyĂre a bar-room band in the best sense, lashing vast bourbon-slaked rhythms, to a grooving, moving sound that is mesmeric. The enthusiasm is undeniable. Led by the larger-than-life Eric Oblander ű who blows a harp as if auditioning before Sonny Boy Williamson, and barks his vocals as if his throatĂs been roughed up by wood alcohol and mugged by low-grade tobacco ű Five Horse Johnson are the sort of band few name acts would dare have opening for them.
They may look like they belong in the backwoods, but their sound is international, timeless and riveting. No frills, no hype, Five Horse Johnson are flying the flag for traditional values. They just get on with having a good time and make sure everyone else in the room gets down with the boogie. And if thereĂs a better live band around, they must be touring Jupiter.
Malcom DomeMarch, 2004
Spawned from the same trailer park that brought us the Hellacopters, Alabama Thunderpussy and touring-mate Johnny Winter, Five Horse Johnson play inbred, ugly mammoth rock 'n' roll slugged out with hairy fists and sore throats. It's all very manly, and it's pretty good stuff too: funny and entertaining balls-to-the-walls rock, with none of the misogynistic stupidity of some of their peers (despite the tongue-in-cheek cover art). Rather, this is fun and careless hard rock with a foot and a half planted in bluesy swamps; a bar band raised on a steady diet of Aerosmith, ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Solid and tight, this is muscular rawk that's been done to death and back again many times before. But as long as Five Horse Johnson keep doing their thing with such conviction and dedication, we can always take one more round of it. Good stuff.
Stein HauklandJanuary 30th, 2004ink19.com
The latest album from Toledo's finest export boasts a tune called "B.C. Approved"¨that's "Boogie Coalition Approved," y'all, according to the rules set forth by the good professor Greg Strzempka of Raging Slab, who should know. And FHJ deserves the stamp, as it's become the living embodiment of dirty, thirsty, blues-injected boogiecrunch. "Blood Don't Pay," "Sweetwater" and "Soul Digger" sound like ZZ Top if Billy Gibbons didn't belong to a country club. It's all about the blood, the sweat and the beer, baby...
Michael TolandJanuary 18th, 2004highbias.com
Toledo, Ohio's Five Horse Johnson are another rock 'n' roll delight from Small Stone (the label that brought you Puny Human's near-flawless 'It's Not The Heat, It's The Humanity'ű and if you haven't already got that, then why the fuck not?). 'The Last Men On Earth' is the kind of album that deserves to be bought and waved in the face of anyone foolish enough to think Kings Of Leon get any better than 'Molly's Chambers' (they don't, natch). Eschewing the obvious stoner influences of Sabbath, Vitus, and Kyuss, Five Horse Johnson instead seem to hark back to the bluesier likes of Mountain and The Groundhogs, and on the soul-shaking 'Cry Rain' they offer a glimpse of what fourth album Zepplin might have sounded like augmented by Mick Jagger in full faux-bluesman mode. Heavy soul, in full effect.
Joe StannardJanuary, 2004
Progression and development? Pah! Did anyone ever tell Howlin' Wolf or Muddy Waters that their music needed to change with the times? Of course not, they found what they were good at and stuck firmly to it. 'The Last Men On Earth' is Five Horse Johnson's fourth album and sees them in a similar position, and not just because of Eric Oblander's whiskey drenched vocals either. Their heavy blues boogie is pure as ever, the lyrics are as usual concerned with drinking, (as the sleeve notes say "Oh yeah, after all these years, getting' bombed is still a blast!") and the comparisons to the early years of a little ol' Texan band ZZ Top keep cropping up, but fronted by Captain Beefheart with Little Walter on harmonica.
Some bands exist to challenge you, some to shock you, and some to inspire you. Five Horse Johnson make you glad to be alive.
Iann WebsterIssue 114 - November 2003
Hailing from the Glass City of Toledo, Ohio, Five Horse Johnson are a band who knows good blues rock, i.e. four guys weaned on ZZ Top's Tres Hombres and Deg?ello and surely prefer Aerosmith's pre-Done With Mirrors career than one iota of the pap they've released since the mid-'80s. Their previous album, 2001's No. 6 Dance, demonstrated their general slant on boogie rock, but The Last Men On Earth more specifically shows a band whose strings have been tightly wound by endless touring, cold beer, and sleeping on floors. The opener "Cry Rain" has faint rhythms of Pearl Jam's "Evenflow" but when frontman Eric Oblander lets loose his gravelly tenor, you know this ain't no flannel-flyin', grunge-era poseur band. Brad Coffin's bottleneck slide guitar (or what sounds like it) adds welcomed depth to the entire album but particularly shines on "Sweetwater" and "B.C. Approved." "Cherry Red" has an immediate ZZ Top-ish gallop that smacks of well-maintained muscle cars, with Coffin absolutely wailing during the solo. "Soul Digger" features Oblander on mouth harp like Blues Traveler's John Popper but ten times better, though he does lean toward the stylings of Led Zeppelin's "Bring It On Home" on "Yer Mountain." "Sweetwater" reprises their ZZ Top adoration while "Sawhill" resembles a doomier Lynyrd Skynyrd. With more super cover art by Mark Dancey (whose works have graced three of the band's four full-lengths), The Last Men On Earth epitomizes the boys-night-out soundtrack¨and is more economically priced than the new ZZ Top box set.
Chris AyersNovember, 2003digitalmetal.com
THE SOUND MONITOR
While this is Five Horse Johnson's fifth studio outing, it's actually my first exposure to the band. Within minutes I was asking myself why the hell hadn't I heard them before? This is the best damn southern rock/blues band I've ever heard, and it all comes down to how funky - yet rocking - the album is. Each track instantly grabs you -1 or 2 listens and you will be hooked. Hey, you know you're onto a good thing when one of the opening lyrics makes reference to Karma to Burn ("Why does a Heathen, wear Karma to Burn").
Guitarist Brad Coffin knows how to wield an axe, creating some great riffs and killer solos. The welcome addition of slide during some songs adds to the overall southern blues feel of the album. With Eric Oblander's harp playing and rough edged vocals suiting the style of music perfectly, you can hear years worth of alcohol consumption coming out in every note. Mike Alonso displays some damn cool drumming even during the verses, as his beats drive the guitars. While Steve Smith on bass completes the perfect grooving rhythm section which keeps you nodding along throughout the whole album. Lyrically, the songs are mostly about drinking, conjuring up images of a Blues Brothers-style, badly lit, dusty country bar in the middle of nowhere, complete with cowboy hats, spurs and chicken wire covering the stage. This is the soundtrack you want when sitting around your favourite bar with your mates putting down the whiskeys.
Every song on the album is truly awesome but stand out tracks are 'Killing Moon' for it's funky blues/rocking sound, and 'Sawhill' for its killer riff and catchy vocals. At 10 tracks/45 minutes the album sucks you in so much that the experience comes to a halt before you're readyÓ and that's when you finally get some use from 'repeat' button.
Last Men on Earth is not only a decent album, but it inspires further research into their discography also.
Nathan PeauriDecember, 2003thesoundmonitor.com
METAL EDGE MAGAZINE
Beer drinkers and hell raisers indeed, The Last Men On Earth stomps with the dissonant tone of guitarist Brad Coffin being comparable to that of Soundgarden, but wrapped in the coarse barbed wire vocals of Eric Oblander. The result is a fundamentally blues-drenched sound that belies the fact that the band emerged from north of the Mason-Dixon line in Toledo, OH. Still, the Soundgarden boogie slam of tracks like "Cherry Red" and "Sweetwater" suggests an affinity for ZZ top, particularly Tres Hombres and "La Grange". Linear caricature artwork makes for an eye-catching package, and the ridiculous irony of Five Horse Johnson being a four-man band only adds to their appeal of rowdy musical horseplay.
Roger LotringJanuary 2004 - Vol. 49 No.9
Oh man, I just never get enough of this stuff! Down and dirty Southern rawk done up all fuzzy and 70s like. The kind of music that just makes you want to forget everything and just ROCK OUT mindlessly and have a good time. This is basically Five Horse Johnson's M.O., damn straight do they do it well!
Beginning life in 1995, this Toledo, Ohio act has been pounding heads for the better part of a decade now, working hard and gaining a cult following of rockhead fans. Though the band has been on numerous tours, with a shit load of well known bands, and they have dropped four albums previous to this, this is my first encounter with the band.
As you might have guessed from my previous gushing, the band is all about blues influenced 70s style rock, grooved out and cranked up. There's just something about the band that has an "old" feel to it, like these guys have been around forever and seen it all. It's like these four dudes are the greased out, down 'n dirty Motorhead of Southern rock. I donĂt know what their previous albums have sounded like, but it's obvious on this disc that these guys are gifted songwriters, as each song is extremely catchy and yet not obviously commercial. From a straight boogie rocker like the ZZ Top-ish "Cherry Red" to the filthy menace of "Sawhill", each song just sounds vintage.
Quite simply, this is yet another huge feather in Small Stone Records' cap and hopefully a major stepping stone for Five Horse Johnson. If this style of music is your thing, this will be your album of the year.
These guys rule. Think of four good ol' boys who probably work down at the bait and tackle shop that take beer and bong breaks that happen to get it together enough and form a band. I would imagine they would sound almost exactly like Five Horse Johnson: Heavy, groovy, laid back and totally rockin'. This time the guys here express their distaste for the usual fallacy that we men get into with marriage (in fact, the album cover depicts a Godzilla sized bride stepping on their Marshall stacks and bottles with the boys running for their lives) and growing up. Sure, responsibility is one thing, but continuing to have fun and rock out is another. Why is it that when we reach a certain age and tax bracket most of us seem to hang it up in trade for some SUV and the traps of typical "family life"? I don't get itÓ. and the Five Horse Johnson boys don't either.
The Last Men On Earth is a fine proclamation that men can sometimes get it right without offending anyone while remaining true to their right of getting stupid once in a while. Not that this band or album is stupid, mind you. On the contraryÓ
Mark WhittakerOctober, 2003
Listen, the cat is great and all, and nobody draws better she-male porno comix, but I've had it up to the tits with King Velveeda artwork on every fuckin' CD I receive- it's aesthetic fascism, if you ask me. But I suppose that's besides the point. The meat is what matters, and Five Horse Johnson has a whole abattoir's worth of the stuff here, all hanging from big metal hooks and dripping with tangy, Southern flavored juices. These Tobacco Row-by-way-of- Toledo heavies happened to be the first band greasing up the stage when I took my future wife to her first Sleazegrinder approved rock show a few years ago. They looked like 7 tons of haggard redneck back then, gleefully blessing the hogs with dirty ZZ Top riffs and acid blues damage, and not a goddamn thing has changed. They still sound like Raging Slab and KISS fighting over the last scraps of bacon at a breakfast table somewhere dead south of here, and Eric Oblander still breaks out the harp and wails like a sinner beatin' the odds whenever he runs out of words. It's big time hillbilly stoner metal, now and forever. If you like your grooves deep fried and stinking like a Cheech and Chong movie, then "The Last Men on Earth" will surely get ya where you're going. One thing, tho. In the booklet, it says that this here record is "Boogie Coalition Approved". Who's running this coalition? Am I in it? How about Lamont? I can't believe there's a whole cabal of professional boogiemen now, and I didn't even get invited. Fuckers. I'm pretty sure you're still allowed to boogie even if you're not approved by the coalition though, so buy the record anyway.
DAREDEVIL MAGAZINE (Germany)
What should I say about these guys, when ever I received a CD of Five Horse Johnson it was fantastic and outstanding. I thought after the last release nothing could top that, but I was wrong. "The Last Men On Earth" sets one on the top. Compared to their previous release this one is with a bit more power and more fuzzy at some parts. This CD has the energy of a Hurricane and the aura of an old Skynyrd album...no f**ing around with FX or useless playing around just to fill the last few minutes...no this is pure and absolutely rocking. Songs like "Cry Rain" or "Sweetwater" are so huge and I ran around the whole day with these two songs in my head and I couldn?t get them out...aaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhh. If you've heard their previous release "The No. 6 Dance"...YOU HAVE TO BUY this one...for the rest of the planet a must have too!!!!
THE TOLEDO BLADE
Five Horse Johnson explores the elusive common ground between heavy metal and the blues on it's fifth release, proving itself a boogie band as gritty as it's hometown. The 8-year-old Toledo band delivers a blistering set that strips down the blues and boogie forms laid out by bands like Foghat or Canned Heat and then builds them back upinto a righteous racket. Along with Lollipop Lust Kill, another Toledo band with a national recording contract, Five Horse Johnson is proof that Toledo is fertile ground for rock and roll's harder edge.
Rod LockwoodSunday, October 19, 2003
Straight outta Toledo, Ohio, and currently taking LP numero five on the road, Five Horse Johnson comes signed, sealed, delivered and even stamped ¨ as the CD booklet proudly announces ¨ "boogie coalition approved." Close contemporary kin might include Raging Slab (who coined the term "boogie coalition"), Nashville Pussy, Atomic Bitchwax, etc., but the actual tale of the tape extends way, way back ¨ all the way to high-octane bruisers such as Mountain, Johnny Winter and (the once-mighty) Aerosmith.
Curiously, the album kicks off on an incongruous note; "Cry Rain" sounds like a heavier version of Pearl Jam's "Even Flow." Soon enough, though, the FHJ pedal gets stomped to the metal: "Cherry Red" is full-gallop, mane-swinging boogie; "Soul Digger" rams harp-fed boogie through a Beefheartian blooze sieve; and "Three At A Time" is so Skynyrdly in its Southern-rock bluster, you'd swear they dug up poor ol' Ronnie Van Z's rotting corpse and forced him to swig from the bandĂs communal jug of Jack.
All in all, the cumulative effect of 45 minutes of this glorious thud-crud is akin to getting locked in the back of a conversion van, circa 1976, the unventilated air thick with Thai stick bong fumes while the 8-track player mercilessly blares the first Black Oak Arkansas rec over and over, your cranium pounding louder and louder each time the inevitable kachunk! of the 8-track's channel change spools around.
Factor in some ace sleeve art courtesy Mark Dancey ¨ who ain't clowning around, rendering the Johnson boys in colorfully hirsute, Marshall Amp/whiskey bottle-worshiping terms ¨ and Hamtramck drummer Mike Alonso, and you've got a sooper-stoopid Motor City-related artfact (Small Stone is a Detroit label), well worth clutching to your heaving l'il chest.
Fred MillsOctober, 2003
OK. These guys play high octane mid-speed boogie-the-blues-hard rock and roll. What keeps 'm out of the "revival" circuit? Power of Attack. The members all grew up in the Detroit/Toledo 80Ăs hardcore and metal scenes and were weaned on pre-Carter era ZZ Top/Aerosmith/Grand Funk. This means their structural prerogative is stripped of affectation and ennui whilst being built to hold a BIG house party. It means They get to The Fucking Point! Funny thing is-, when "the points" a humongous boogie groove--you just can't play real fast and yell a lotÓ Instead you play real hard in the pocket. It takes restraint, tact, endurance and focus to keep the boogie both hypnotic and moving. It also takes some tunes and a singer who phrases to emphasize the beat and provide hooks by cutting across the rhythm and dropping out to let the riffs speak to yonder hotties ass. That's important. Music like this has to breath--expand /contract in a comfortably physical way. Like Howlin' Wolf said, "baby I'm built for comfort, not for speed". Hey, How many bands you know fit with Steppenwolf and John Spencers Blues Explosion?
Craig RegalaOctober, 2003
THE GLASS EYE
Here comes album #5 from Toledo's own Five Horse Johnson. Now, anybody that follows these guys knows their signature blend of ultra-heavy blues riffs, guttural vocals, and sharp lyrics. Throw in Eric Oblander's signature harp tone, and you have something that's been working damn well for four albums! And, guess what? The formula still fucking rocks! Only here the boys have tossed together some really solid and original chord progressions alongside tons of creative riffs. This isn't just generic blues-rock from your local biker bar -- this is the real deal, baby! "Cherry Red" and "Soul Digger" are just two examples of the "Girl, you ain't gonna hurt me no more" theme found in many of FHJ's lyrics. As far as the guitar work goes, Brad Coffin continues to amaze the civilized world with his no-pick approach. To all you tone-freaks out there, just quit messing with your amp's knobs, because you will never, ever sound like this man! On a side note, you will never out-drink him, either. Many have tried and fallen, literally.
More of the early-Aerosmith influence comes out on this album (see "Love 2 Lose"), and "Sawhill" has this crazy sound that conjures up a vision of Bad Company going to Howlin' Wolf's log cabin to blow an 8-ball and jug of White Lightning, only to find Johnny Cash sneaking in with a handful of pills and a sheet full of lyrics. The album ends with the smooth-yet-heavy "Yer Mountain," capping off another glorious rock album. These guys should have a genre named after them.
Jay HathawayOctober, 3.5 EYES 2003
Perennial Small Stone favourites Five Horse Johnson exorcise their high test boogie magic and lay down their road tested blues wisdom on this newest offering, "The Last Men On Earth". The band is game-ready and in top form on this collection of stinging, raunchy blooze that sees them taking on a stronger "rock" feel vs. their previous releases. Big Sugar, watch your back, the real Johnsons are in the house, and they ain't wearing any Hugo Boss suits.
Vox/Harp Eric Oblander is the modern day preacher who's had a couple nips out of that dusty Thunderbird bottle, espousing a blue streak of hard-luck "I told ya so's" on "Cherry Red", calling up the spirit of George Thorogood with a nice mix of Detroit Rock City thrown in. This one chugs along at a modest pace, but never faster than you can stomp you boots to, whereas "Soul Digger" brings the harp up to the forefront and sounds so sweet when paired with Brad Coffin's wailing guitar.
"Three At A Time" shows that bandĂs evolution as they drag you through some slowed-up, tuned down greasy rock and roll. Eric's slightly distorted and shrill vocal wail remind me of Leslie West on this one. Tracks like "Love 2 Lose" are what really makes this band special. Brad Coffin jams out this tiny little guitar lick that permeates the song and tattoos itself into your brain. It's funny how one seemingly insignificant twang can turn you inside out and make you foam at the mouth for more.
"B.C. Approved" is 5HJ's mission statement, with Eric once again in preacher mode telling the story of the band working years and years of touring and adversity until they finally get their due credit from the "Boogie Coalition". It's easy to give props to this band, given the heavy bottle-clinking, ZZ Top flavour of "Sawhill÷ and the grand harmonica soloing on "Yer Mountain".
The most notable difference right from the beginning is the production. Even though they've used roughly the same personnel in the studio, this recording seriously sounds larger than life. The drum sound is huge, yet tastefully mixed nice and crisp and still has that real natural feel to it: Same goes with the steady bass and Brad's busy guitar work - but that's pretty much a given. Even if you don't fancy yourself a "blues" fan, you'll find 5HJ will scratch you right where you itch.
Nick MucSeptember, 2003stonerrockchick.com
Admittedly, I wasn't expecting much from this. Sure, I expected good, having been a fan of the band since Fat Black Pussycat, but I figured they blew their wad with 2001's The No. 6 Dance. I had no idea that this one would eclipse the brilliance of their previous release.
The most notable difference is that there are more guitar solos than in the past. I thought the harp dominated too much on past releases, but the band seems to have compensated for this, by finding a happy medium Even more importantly, each song here has something memorable about it, making the second listen seem much more familiar than it really is. The hooks and choruses are bigger too.
This album is a hell of a lot of fun. Most of the songs are odes to drinking, but they're as tastefully done as songs about drinking can be. Nothing seems forced or too silly. If there's one song that defines the album, it's "Boogie Coalition Approved," as the entire disc finds the band cooking like they never have before.
The thing that really makes this album work for me is an early ZZ Top feel. I canĂt quite put my finger on it, but there's something akin to that little olĂ band from Texas. Maybe itĂs the sound of a blues band hitting their stride and becoming one of my favorites in the process.
Mat UrbancichSeptember, 2003hellridemusic.com