The Willowz release their best record yet
We will get this out of the way now: Yes, The Willowz are my good friends. No, this is not a sympathy article for them, because their talent speaks volumes above what I’m writing in this article.
With a recent lineup change (which now includes Loren Humphrey on drums and Aric Bohn on guitar), The Willowz are ready to make their official break into stardom with their third and best studio release on March 20, 2007, Chautauqua, on Dim Mak Records.
Richie Follin, Jessica Reynoza and company have abandoned the once stapled Willowz sound of rushing punk guitars and shotgun spurts of songs for a style akin to what Wolfmother and Earl Greyhound could be, if only they weren’t ripping off Black Sabbath and Zeppelin. With Richie’s trademark howl, he and Aric Bohn craft soundscapes with dueling guitars and a powerful, thumping rhythm section, which was performed by Tony Mann on the record. “Beware” opens the record with a riff of apocalyptic proportions, while songs like “Siren Song,” “Nobody,” and “Warship” prove that the new lineup retains the raw bite and sneer of musicians past.
The most interesting point about this record, however, is how well the band is able to transition from such a raw rock ‘n roll sound to jangly, alt-country jamboree. “Jubilee,” arguably one of the greatest tracks on the album (read further), keeps a hoedown beat while the band sets up shop like an old country band on the back porch (hats off especially to the slide guitar). Although short, “Big Knob” is also a great country gem.
“Evil Son,” the best track on the album, finds The Willowz mixing all of these elements into one for a song that can uncharacteristically bring the house down in the middle of the album. This piano/acoustic ballad turned psychedelic and power riff meltdown is currently going through the works for a video, The Willowz second single off this album including “Jubliee.”
As much as I enjoy the record, this cannot attest to the bands talent live. All of the songs get the treatment of being played like it’s the last time anyone will ever hear them: Loren Humphrey destroying the kit, Jessica Reynoza dancing the night away while still maintaining crystal clear bass lines, Richie Follin proclaiming the gospel according to The Willowz, and Aric Bohn wailing away while being the most entertaining guitarist to watch.
Be prepared, you’re about to get a lesson in real rock ‘n roll.