Ride On The Train from NYC-based band Hollis Brown, is an album brought up on the classic essences of melodic rock, Americana, and blues seeded rock ‘n’ roll. It is a release which will find a ready home in the hearts of blues and rock fans but also in those with a strong taste for rock pop where melodies and passion make as loud a call as infectiousness. It is unlikely to fire up the passions for those lacking any real appetite for the genres it brings into a vibrant union admittedly but with its specific flavoursome offerings it is not necessarily trying to persuade those with a further afield in hunger anyway, though there is enough to spark intrigue in all.
Consisting of principal songwriters Mike Montali (vocals) and Jon Bonilla (lead guitar) alongside Mike Graves (drums)and Dillon DeVito (bass), Hollis Brown, the name taken from a Bob Dylan song, have brought their influences and passions into a sound which has earned and garnered strong responses and praise from the start. Their debut EP last year marked the card of a great many which this, their first album, will only reinforce with potency one suspects, whilst igniting awareness in a vast more appetites. The Alive Naturalsound released album offers ten tracks of honest and raw emotive enterprise, their voices a narrative of traditional blues heart with classic rock/pop colouring.
The title track strolls into view first, regular beats marking the scenic breath of the guitar and vocals whilst the bass gentle offers another rhythmic lure to the unassuming yet eager start. It an easy and undemanding introduction with guitars bringing flames of melodic craft across the warm sky of the song whilst the vocals unveil an expressive tale with equally striking charm. Though it does not light any real sparks neither does it sow seeds of disinterest, the track laying down a more than decent welcome for the following likes of Down On Your Luck, Nothing & The Famous One, and the excellent Doghouse Blues to coax the ear with variety and accomplished enterprise. The first of these songs has a familiarity to it which is open and truthful in its inspirations whilst the third is a feisty and raw fire of blues borne incitement and riveting guitar enticement, a track which calls out the cry and breath of the working man.
Further highlights come with the richly emotive Faith & Love and best track on the album, Walk On Water. The song is another burn of intense emotion and scintillating expression, the songwriting securing full attention whilst its realisation is a furnace of fevered rock ‘n’ roll. The track continues the thrilling variety offered by the release with songs such as If It Ain’t Me and Nightfall taking the emotions on slowly enveloping rides through heartbreak and ballad crafted emotive elegance.
Ride On The Train did not light any fires to leave the deepest marks or recruit constant returns but as company from time to time it easily evades any reasons not to join its strong and satisfying blues driven presence.
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