Apr 13, 2008

Shots-Ladyhawk

If Ladyhawk's debut self-titled album was full of potential, then their second release "Shots" fulfills the promise, delivers it. In full effect. "Shots" is a gritty, resolute, soulful, passionate affair. The sort of album Kings of Leon used to make, before they got all slick, you know. This Vancouver four piece rocks with fury and frenzy. Delicious melodies wash over you, all heightened by the glorious, ragged voice of Duffy Driediger.

"Shots" explodes out of the gate with the swaggering "I Don't Always Know What You're Saying", a perfect opener. It encapsulates all the best elements of Ladyhawk. Tight rhythm section, ferocious riffs, heavenly melody and Duffy's voice. No doubt in my mind, the beastly vocal of Driediger elevates this band. Without him, they would still be a rocking, fun band. With him, they evoke all those memories of albums your parents used to own. For his voice is smoky and sensual, raucous and salacious. Like he just stumbled out of a beer tavern. With a shot of whiskey in one hand and a devilish glint in his eye. He manages to make fairly lyrically straight forward material sound as if it is essential. The mark of a great singer. No more evident then on "Corpse Paint", which stalks like a panther, before ascending to a epic, rocking close. However this band also can do soft. Take "(I'll Be Your) Ashtray', a plaintive, slow burning plea for love. It aches with intensity. "Faces of Death" also proves that this sophomore effort has a somewhat darker tone then the first release. These boys are definitely not just good time rock 'n' roll. They have heart and a penchant for despair and anguish. There is also a definite rawness at work here. Although the production quality is good, it was recorded in a farmhouse near Kelowna, British Columbia, the songs feel natural and intuitive. Earthy and spontaneous. This is classic rock, but without a capital C or R. The music does not state its intention, it just knows its place. That place is in your heart and down your spine. How all good music should be. The design is natural, not enforced. The short and sweet "You Ran" shows you what I mean. Brief and to the point, I dare you not to shout this song to the rooftop. Then to show off their chops one more time, Ladyhawk close with the ten minute epic "Ghost Blues", a portentious, scowling number that leaves you a little spent, but also a feeling of wanting more of the same. That brand of Canadian rock. Good songs delivered with zest and zeal. Music of 2008, but suitable for any era.

MP3: I Don't Always Know What You're Saying

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