You guys, The Woolly Bushmen are so cool. I mean it, these 3 guys just have it going on. They’re fun, and talented, and I just want them to play every house party I host. They’re the most fun thing to come outta Florida since Disneyworld. Last years sophomore release from the band, Arduino, was one of my favorite and most played releases of the year, and with In Shambles (out this Friday, May 10th) The Woolly Bushmen have gifted us another slab of killer rock n roll that I’m sure I’ll be spinning all year long.
The album opens up with “What Yer Doing To Me”, catchy, straight up frat rock that we’ve come to love from the band. Surfy-y, fun, straight up rock n roll that gets your toes tapping and your ass shaking. It’s a perfect opener, and one that has been stuck in my head multiple times since I got the album.
“Fine” is a real stand out, classic oldies style rockin with a slight country/rockabilly twang, catchy as hell, and featuring some more advanced songwriting with it’s minor bridge and psyched-up ending. I absolutely love this one- it’s a bit of an outlier on the album, but man is it good. It’s almost hard to believe it’s an original because it feels like such a classic- I could absolutely imagine it playing out of a jukebox in some smoky pool hall or honky tonk.
Throughout the album’s first few tracks I began to wonder where the prominent organ sounds were- though the organ is still there, it’s primarily used as a bass and to fill in the low end, while the guitar takes the lead. But, with “Let It Be Known”, the organ returns- the song is the most garage rock of the album, reminiscent of the Count V’s “Psychotic Reaction” and full of attitude, killer guitar tones and a catchy sing along chorus. Simon’s vocals are wild and mean and just perfect, and I love when the band explores the more garage-y side of their sound.
The organ really comes to the forefront of the music with “Weeping Eyes”- I actually exclaimed “yessssssssss” when I heard the opening organ riff here. Simon’s playing is far too good not to feature, and luckily it stays prominent throughout the rest of In Shambles. Weeping Eyes is a classic 60s style love song heavy on the organ and featuring a fuzzy guitar solo, a Beatlesque ending, and a great hook. It’s a perfect Side A closer.
Side B opens with “Dense”, and boy is it. It’s a next level tune, the most psychedelic the band has done thus far- featuring a arpeggiating organ, plenty of vocal delays, loads of psychedelia and Simon’s signature snarl. Its disorienting in a really fun way- there’s something almost Arthur Brown about this and it’s extraordinary. I have no idea how this sound is being created with only 3 people.
“Fire Tonight” was written by the younger Palombi brother, and it’s interesting to hear the difference in the brothers’ songwriting. It’s sweeter, more narrative lyrically, a bit more of a throwback to soul classics, and unusually bass heavy. It’s a great closer to a great album.
The Woolly Bushmen truly know how to throw a party through their music. They’re not taking themselves too seriously, but they’re also not holding back their talents. And the production on this album really captures the band well- it was recorded directly to tape with all analog effects. The energy is all there, and there’s a real rawness to the rock n roll that lends an authenticity to the album.
In my first review I spoke about seeing The Bushmen live, and how they looked like such babies to me- with In Shambles, they’ve grown up a bit and broadened their horizons musically, and it’s paying off. There’s a new level of sophistication here- the band has now toured internationally, broken several bones (literally- guitarist Jacob broke both legs while in Spain)- so maybe the life experience lends to the stepping up of their songwriting. In Shambles is a step up from what was already a great sound- in fact, some of the songs that step in a new direction are so good that they almost pale the others in comparison. We’ll be looking forward to seeing what the boys do next and where their sound goes from here.
In Shambles is out May 10th on Pig Baby Records. Get it here. Order it for your mom for mother’s day, she’ll love it.
The band is headed on tour later this May- tour dates here
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PS Please come back to the West Coast soon, guys! <3