Last year US rock band Braddock Station Garrison gave a strong and enjoyable introduction to their rock ‘n’ roll with debut EP/mini album High Water. Exploring all the best bits of that release whilst honing other potential but previously less striking elements in their sound, the Washington DC quartet has recently unveiled its successor, A Hint of Recognition. Still carrying a flavoursome Americana tang to their no frills rock ‘n’ roll, Braddock Station Garrison have produced another highly magnetic and creatively organic proposition with their second full-length to thoroughly enjoy. It is probably not a game changer in stirring major awareness of the band by wider spotlights, though it has enough to make a stir if given the chance, but A Hint of Recognition is definitely going to entice new fans as they show they are heading in the right creative direction for bigger rewards ahead.
Formed by vocalist/guitarist Steve Schillinger and lead guitarist Tom Soha in 2011; Braddock Station Garrison take inspirations from the likes of Tom Petty, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Cheap Trick, Aerosmith, Johnny Cash, and The Smithereens into their openly growing sound. Completed by drummer Michael Chapman and bassist Michael Haddad, a line-up in place since mid-2014, the band released High Water last year to keen responses. Its fusion of classic and modern sounds was a highly appetising if unspectacular proposal which left a richness of pleasure in its wake. A Hint of Recognition continues the groundwork it laid but with more inventive tenacity, bolder imagination, and depth of sound. It is still not the offering to make an explosive impact but it definitely guarantees a thoroughly enjoyable time with every listen and who can say no to that.
The album opens with Forgotten Teenage Dream, a contagious little number with jangly riffs and a great alluring bassline alongside the ever distinctive and appealing tones of Schillinger. With crispy beats adding to the easy going stroll, the song rather than providing a big splash to start things off is more a catchy coaxing, a warm up to bigger and brighter things. Nevertheless grooves and melodies offer a pleasing tempting which the more relaxed and emotive She’s Too Cool employs with relish in its more fifties rockabilly seeded stroll. As in its predecessor and the band’s sound generally, there is a masterful simplicity at work; leanness to the invention which ensures only the choice cuts of sound and imagination get involved in the song whilst avoiding unnecessary embellishments.
Things really takes off from the album’s third track, Lies, where once more a fifties breeding is carried by the tantalising air of the song, and initially through another tasty bass lure and the rich vocals. It is a flavour continued by sultry melodies and welcoming riffs cast by the guitars whilst a raw cascade of intensity only adds to the drama and unrelenting addictiveness of the song. Its success seems to spark something extra in its following companions too, Hey Cindy spinning a web of sonic tendrils across its body within a great rhythmic beckoning next. To this the guitars spray a creative smog like contrails behind a plane, with both Chapman and Haddad laying down gripping bait before Never In Danger emulates the earlier Lies with its own dark rock hues, though this time they touch upon a R.E.M. colouring in the song’s evocative swing. Infectious from first breath to last, the track is a reserved but lively seduction adding more warmth to the satisfaction already brewed by A Hint of Recognition.
More heady bass temptation brings a grin to lips as Any Day Any Way opens up, the enticement persistent as guitars spread fuzzy causticity across a punkish encounter unafraid to change tact and energy at the drop of a note. More inventive and fiery with each passing minute, the track is another striking high point which Stop and Reflect struggles to match right after, though its country twang and melodic smoulder only feeds a happy appetite before Johnny Stone Stole My Girl brings things to a rocking close. Its unsurprising yet irresistibly catchy shuffle feeds all wants from a slice of rock ‘n’ roll, especially with more of that flavoursome old school fifties tone to please personal tastes; a pursuit of which would definitely go down well and add something more to future Braddock Station Garrison songs it is easy to suggest on the evidence of A Hint of Recognition. More of the very solid and enjoyable sounds found on the band’s new album would be quite fine too.
A Hint of Recognition is out now via the Braddock Station Garrison Bandcamp.
Pete RingMaster 29/09/2015
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