Album review: Houndmouth, ‘Little Neon Limelight’ raucous, timeless and tight
You know when you go out drinking with your friends and you came back after 2 a.m. and still have some party left in you? You gather all the available alcohol and someone cooks a hodgepodge of leftovers in the skillet. You play all the songs you grew up loving and sing them together at the top of your lungs as a bottle of cheap liquor is passed around. Everyone becomes the oldest of friends no matter how long you have known them. The night feels frozen in time, and no one is rushing to change that. “Little Neon Limelight,” the sophomore effort from Indiana’s Houndmouth, feels like one of those nights.
“Little Neon Limelight” is a record that late-night sing-alongs are born. The songs feel immediate and off-the-cuff, as if their inspiration had only came a couple minutes before recording. Matt Meyers (guitar), Katie Toupin (keyboard), Zak Appleby (bass) and Shane Cody (drums) have a penchant for rough country rhythms and whiskey soaked harmonies which display a youthful exuberance, excited about what life has in store for them. Tomorrow doesn’t matter because they are worried about how to embrace what is in front of them now.
Houndmouth’s songwriting is very tight and the songs on this record feel timeless, from their depictions of lawless love on the raucous “15 Years” to the ode of a fallen hero, in this case Otis Redding, on the enriching “Otis.” “My Cousin Greg” is a good-time romp, no doubt born from tales on the road, that finds the inherent wisdom in debauchery, as the band sings in a rousing harmony, “If you want to live the good life/ You better stay away from the limelight.” You wonder how many nights it took them to come to that realization.
Along with their blazing anthems, the band also has the ability to dim the lights and write knockout country ballads. Kate Toupin sings “Gasoline” like a wounded angel as she laments “Gasoline, it don’t burn as fast as me/ Oh, Lord, maybe I’ll meet my maker on a bedroom floor.” It is a hauntingly self-aware line that has no time to muck around through ambiguities. “For No One” has a melancholic sway that anyone familiar with morning-after regret can relate to.
Houndmouth has made an honest an invigorating record in “Little Neon Limelight.” The only indication of a sophomore slump is as you drunkenly sing along to this album slumped on the couch with a group of friends.
Houndmouth‘Little Neon Limelight’
Release: March 17, 2015
Notable Songs: “Otis,” “My Cousin Greg,” “Gasoline”
ABOUT Garrett Bethmann
Garrett Bethmann is a graduate of University of Mary Washington with a degree in English. An eight-year resident of Lake Tahoe, he now lives in Denver, Colorado.
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