"With The Sinners" Album Review

December 29, 2017

Follow The Buzzards released their second album, “With The Sinners”, this year on November 21st. I was lucky enough to have the honor of playing at their album release. While there, I picked up a copy of the album. I've really enjoyed listening to it over and over again. A month later and I can still listen to it front to back without skipping a track.

“With The Sinners” is a gem of an album overall. With a broad spectrum of styles represented, it appeals to all types of varying rock tastes. There's basically a song for everyone who calls themselves a fan of rock music. This album is like taking bits and pieces from the best of almost each era of the genre and putting their own unique take on it.

There are two major positives to “With The Sinners” from a marketing perspective that go beyond just the quality of the music as well. The first thing is that it sounds like it was recorded live and in real time. I know for a fact it was recorded at Unit D (Awesome venue), but it also just sounds like it was all recorded together. This works in Follow The Buzzards favor, since whenever they need to present what they sound like to a venue owner or booking agent, they have a product that gives a true representation of what they will sound like during live performance. Basically, if you enjoy this album in your car then you are going to love them in person.

The other major marketing potential I could see for “With The Sinners” is that about 3/4s of the album sounds like soundtrack songs to TV shows or movies. With how catchy the lyrics and music itself is, it could easily be a recognizable intro song for a major network's TV show (think about how easy it is to hum along to the intro to Shameless). This album has so much potential. It's radio friendly. It's songs are well written and composed. The sky is the limit for “With The Sinners”, it's really just up to Follow the Buzzards to push it out there!

If I had to grade this album, I'd definitely give it a solid A. It's darn near close to an A plus, however, there is one issue I have with one of the tracks. Keep on reading below to see what I think of each track on the track breakdown!

 

 

 

“Catholic Guilt”: Well, the whole album kicks off with the bassist Tiffany Oliver off away from a mic saying, “You sing too loud” and then someone burping into the mic. But if you know the characters that make up Follow The Buzzards, it's a funny little extra I'm personally glad they didn't cut.

“Catholic Guilt” kicks off with a great riff played by both Aaron Lowther and Michael “Lefty” Robinson. This riff will be played throughout the song as fills. It's a catchy riff and is one that keeps your attention on the song as they place it in the perfect places for fills.

It's also the track where the album received it's name. The lyrics are easily memorized and well written. Follow The Buzzards has a knack for that and it's a phrase you'll notice a few times throughout this album review.

Rhythmic drum work by Brian Simpson is on display with great fill work and rolls that go into different sections of the song flow really well.

This song was a good way start to album by coming out swinging.

 

“Straight and Narrow”: More Cowbell! But seriously, not often in this day and age is the cowbell effectively utilized. But Brian uses it here to set up a good cadence. Immediately following is another riff that is captivating. This song is a perfect example of the “keep it simple stupid” mentality when writing a good song.

The clapping in the background is a nice touch that gives that live feel to the song. Lefty's vocal punch during the chorus adds another layer to this live feel. The bass and cowbell only buildup back into the final chorus show exceptional song structure.

Honestly, this is my favorite song on the album. This is not to detract from any of the other tracks, but I particularly love the lyrics to this one. They are infectious and truly relatable to anyone who has ever had to try to better themselves and rise up above their surroundings.

All in all, this song reminds me of an AC/DC song in it's execution... minus the vocal stylings of Brian Johnson or Bon Scott. But their voice is not needed here, as Aaron's vocals are right at home in this track.

 

“Beautiful Affliction”: “Beautiful Affliction sounds like a hybrid of surf music and reggae. Now, while that may sound like a train wreck waiting to happen, Follow The Buzzards pulls it off and adds another catchy tune to the album! Easily the most unique sounding song on the album.

With an electric guitar and a keyboard holding down the rhythm and horns adding a nice touch to the chorus, it is a mash that is harmonious and well composed. The bouncing bass adds a good beat that makes it a song you can dance to. It obviously took a lot of work to pull this song off, but it was well worth it.

 

“Exile”: Here it is, the only track that I had some issue with. “Exile” is a marvelous ballad with a unique structure as it moves from verse to chorus. The lyrics are well written. The composition is there. It was like a few artistic choices are what caught me on this one.

Tiffany Oliver is the lead vocalist on this one, and it is the only track in which she features lead vocals. Tiffany has a naturally beautiful voice and tone. I was thrown a bit by the decision to layer her tracks. Personally, I'd have left the effects on but had her voice stand on it's own without layering.

The only other exception I have to this track is as the chorus builds near the end, it's as though all the different elements and instruments begin clashing. If that was the intention, then it was done right. But it sounded more chaotic than composed during these sections.

Not a bad song by any means. Still a good song with a lovely tone.

 

 

“Saying Goodbye”: I love the feel of this song. Starts off very dramatically with the lone electric guitar with the reverb effect on it. Comes off sounding like an old The Animals track, or for the more recent music lover, a Jack White song. Once the acoustic guitar comes in behind it with the low bass line, it truly adds to the somber mood of the song. Mix this with the lyrics, and it's a fantastic track! The choice to place this track to follow “Exile” was also a good call as it placed two of the slower paced tracks back to back, not interrupting the flow of the album.

 

“La Vendatta”: Following two melancholy songs, Follow The Buzzards kick it into high gear and get things going again with what is their highest energy track. As “La Vendatta” goes on, it sounds as though it's getting faster and faster even though it keeps the same tempo by throwing key changes in. Then, once it reaches its peak, it takes a small break to let Brian play around on the toms. Speaking of Brian, he has a field day on this song and this would be the signature track where you really get to sample his prowess on drums. His work on the fills, on the toms and on the cymbals is second to none on this one.

This song has that old school punk feel that brings to mind The Ramones. From the composition to what the lyrics are actually saying if you pay attention, this is full on punk rock!

 

“West to California”: Do you like Johhny Cash or Rockabilly? You'll love this song. With the boogie woogie riffs and bouncing bass behind it, it sounds like a good old song ripped right out of the 50s. You can perfectly visualize a pompadoured singer and some old time cats getting down on stage to this one. One part I really like about it is that it's a story telling song. An art form that is all but lost these days. The choice to pair these lyrics with this style was a superb choice as the era it imitates was the high point of story telling songs.

 

“Teenage Hollywood”: Follow The Buzzards slows it down for one with another ballad. This is another excellent story song about a girl chasing down stardom in the land of Hollywood. This one sounds very similar to the ballads produced by The Rolling Stones. Simple, yet elegant. With the acoustic guitar as the focal instrument, keyboards and a slow bass line, along with a lone electric guitar in small doses, it produces an alluring song.

 

 

“Superstitious”: Follow The Buzzards picks it back up with a cover of Stevie Wonder's “Superstitious”

The cover is done in a roadhouse blues style. Aaron's vocals are on point for a song of this style and the crunchy rhythm guitar, distorted heavy bass guitar and the wah pedal at play on the lead guitar, this is the kind of song that would go over really well in any biker bar. But they don't forget to make a nod to the original version and throw some horns in there that still fit in well given the style of cover.

 

“My Darling”: What happens when you take a drinking song and rock it out without sounding like the over done styles of Flogging Molly or Dropkick Murphys? You get this song. No disrespect to these two bands, but move over because there's a new favorite sing along! A perfect song to crank up on St. Patrick's day or when you are out drinking in general! Fast paced for most of the song, until they take a drum roll break that sounds much more like a traditional Irish or English drinking song. Everybody in this song does a stellar job of staying in time considering the quick tempo at which it stays until the break.

 

Steal Away: Did you pay attention in church? Because the lyrics to this song makes reference to Bible characters all through the song. It's pulled off without sounding sacrilegious or pretentious in it's delivery.

Lyrics aside this is an entertaining song. With yet another catchy little intro riff that brings you into the feel of the song from the beginning, this one kicks off strong with two guitars set to different tones that maintain through the song. It's nice to be able to pick out the work that each guitar is doing for the entirety of the track. This is also another track where you get to hear all kinds of interesting fills and rolls that Brian lays down with precision.

 

Sundown Town: Someone must have said near the end of the album... “Hey, what instrument have we not added in yet? Oh right, a harmonica!” This track begins with a short harmonica intro. And don't take it as me knocking it, because it ends up filling in during the track. This song sounds like a song that Billy Joel never got to release in his hay day.

This is a magnificent song to end the album with. It's such a simple song. In it's chord structure, the tempo of the drums,the thumping of the bass guitar, the mellow piano and harmonica, everything. It takes a bit of every aspect and doesn't overshadow any other. Even though everything has a simplicity to it, it all works together splendidly to produce a soothing song.

 

In summary, “With The Sinners” is a stupendous album that was not victim to the sophomore slump that many bands deal with. With so many songs that feature catchy lyrics and memorable guitar riffs, I'd strongly urge Follow The Buzzards to pursue any available options that would get them featured on soundtracks or on the radio.

 

You too can Follow The Buzzards by finding them on Facebook, Reverbnation, and Followthebuzzards.com

 

You can purchase “With The Sinners” at any of their upcoming shows, on Itunes, Spotify, Amazon and Google Music!

 

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