Saturday, February 16, 2013
Review: Country Mice - Hour of the Wolf
Perhaps because following in the footsteps of rock legends like Tom Petty, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Bob Dylan, R.E.M., and Wilco is such a daunting and seemingly impossible task, few bands seem willing to even try. Thankfully, Brooklyn-based Country Mice has accepted the challenge and, on their soon to be released second album, Hour of the Wolf, Country Mice has produced remarkable and refreshing American rock, much like Uncle Tupelo during their short but spectacular existence. Recording with talented and experienced producer Doug Boehm at the controls, Country Mice (Jason Rueger (guitar, lead vocals), Ben Bullington (guitar, vocals), Kurt Kuehn (drums), and Mike Feldman (bass)) have produced a record that should make Country Mice known to a much broader audience than indie rockers digging around the internet for hidden gems.
There are no soft spots on Hour of the Wolf, but it does have its extra high points. "Feathers" starts things off with Crazy Horse inspired rocker that any self-respecting Neil Young fan would have been happy to hear on any of Neil's recent albums. "Your Black Crow" alternates between a soothing Automatic for the People era verses and a heavy, southern rock guitar laden chorus. "Giving Your Heart Away" (which can be heard here) rivals some of Tom Petty's most elegant and catchy tunes. "What You've Done" is a heavy barroom stomper. "The Wicked" blesses us with another dose of Crazy Horse guitars and riffs accompanied by a seemingly Petty-inspired chorus. Finally, Rueger closes the record with the graceful and beautiful acoustic "Ash."
With well written and memorable songs, stellar and sometimes searing guitars, and excellent rhythm section work, Hour of the Wolf is a must-have record for fans of rock and roll in its purest form. Unfortunately, other than the link above, I cannot seem to find much online that can be listened to in advance its release. Thankfully, you can get your own copy of it soon when it is released on February 19.
In the meantime, enjoy a few tracks from Country Mice's excellent prior album, Twister.
Follow Country Mice on Twitter here and/or on Facebook here.