Merging evocative Americana with feisty rock ‘n’ roll, US band Braddock Station Garrison make a very pleasing and richly promising introduction with their debut EP High Water. Six tracks which ignite the imagination and appetite for instinctive melodic rock, the release is an adventurous endeavour which at its heights ignites the passions and in its quieter moments of persuasion provides a vibrant and absorbing charm draped with drifting emotive shadows. It is not an explosive invitation into the band but one of compelling substance and lingering persuasion.
Hailing from Washington DC, Braddock Station Garrison’s seeds began when vocalist/guitarist Steve Schillinger and guitarist Tom Soha, who had known each other for years, started to jam together. Officially formed in 2011, the band was soon expanded with the addition of drummer Michael Chapman and original bassist Patrick, who left the band last December to be replaced by Jim Bledsoe. Taking influences from artists such as Tom Petty, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, Johnny Cash, and The Smithereens, the band has evolved a sound which grabs attention whilst suggesting, certainly on the EP, that it is still a work in progress with greater potent things to come.
High Water has its major highlights topping and tailing the release but in between offers an equally magnetic clutch of dark edged melodic enticements. Opener Into Your Arms is a dramatically infectious treat setting things off in immense style. From its first breath thumping muscle bound drum beats hypnotise the ear soon joined by a gloriously throaty bass lure making even greater bait for the imagination. Once the excellent expressive vocals of Schillinger cast a sultry lure over proceedings the track melts the passions and steals their allegiance. At this point the song reminds of the Orson Family track Heartbeat, evolving as flames of caustic guitar ignite the atmosphere alongside rasping riffs into a more Chris Issak seeded encounter with essences of Roy Orbison to its almost rockabilly lilted temptation. It is a masterful and virulently contagious stomp with a melodic acidity which brings garage rock rawness to its beauty.
The impressive start provides a tall order for the following songs to complete and though for the main they run in the openers wake, all starting with A Lot to Ask offer a pleasing and accomplished endeavour to immerse in. The second song is a straight forward melodic rock stroll but with, vocally and musically, a distinctive enterprise to give it a unique if not ground-breaking character. Thoroughly enjoyable and deceptively infectious the song passes the ears over to Fall, which with a similarly cast blend of riffs and melodies continues the expressive pull of the EP. No aspect of the song stands out with striking brilliance but everything slots in and unites for a skilled and mature invention which treads existing paths with invigorating energy and enterprise.
The following Maria With Child with a stronger country twang to its presence is the least persuasive song on the EP though there is little to dismiss about its melodic elegance and rhythmic convincing. There is certainly a close similarity to the song with the previous pair of tracks and if there is any sobering thought to temper the enthusiasm for the release it is that you wonder if they bring enough variety in their songs yet. As the pleasing guitar craft and quality shows backed by all other elements, skill and imagination is not lacking.
California Specific gently coaxes in the listener with a singular guitar and vocal beckoning before expanding with a fuzz kissed blaze of sonic temptation and crisp rhythms which sculpts a smouldering rock pop contagion blending seventies psychedelic radiance with modern alternative rock adventure. Without ever exploding into the fire you expect, the track is a riveting and thrilling proposition which answers in some ways that question about bold variety to the band’s songs, a reminder immediately reaffirmed by the excellent closing track, Girl Gotta Gun. A scuzz fuelled garage rock built romp with garage punk bred abrasiveness and caustic guitar flaming, the track is different in every aspect to what came before but still fits effortlessly within the release and easily at home with the previous Americana coated songs.
Without doubt the first and last songs are the pinnacles of the EP, and hopefully the direction that Braddock Station Garrison explore further but such the strength and appeal of the rest of High Water, you suspect only good and enthralling things will come from the band as they spring forward from this impressive start.
Get the High Water EP as a Buy now name your price download @ http://braddockstationgarrison.bandcamp.com/
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