There are days, and trust me I’ve had enough of ‘em lately, where you want your music with its reverb set a little too high, pouring out of the speakers in to your head, making you feel just little dirty before the lyrics even start. Heavy Thought & Riddle is a perfect fit for that bill. This might be the perfect album for heading out on a night that you suspect might turn in to an all week bender. You see, there’s something entirely beautiful about the way it slams together a garage punk band with a country sound. I love the slightly angry, kind of arrogant, self loathing vibe that permeates this one.
American Dirt has is a four piece band (David Wilson: Lead Vocals/Guitar, Brian Sonniksen: Bass/Vocals, Jon Bartel:Lead Guitar/Vocals, Mark Folkrod: Drums/Vocals) that has three, count ‘em: three, songwriters that bring their impressive talents to bear on this eleven song monstrosity. Making use of all four members on vocals these kids have managed to put out an album that has rough edges in the all the right places with some pretty amazing melodies hanging out where you’d least expect them. But the real beauty on this album is the diversity in the tracks from opening with a rocker of a title track, “Heavy Thought & Riddle”, through to the foot-stomping “Hank Williams” on to the sinner’s hymn “Preach”.
While each songwriter brings their own experiences to the songs it’s obvious that these kids have learned some similar life lessons but the real strength of this record is the way it pulls you in and helps you get lost. This one is an escape route for me, if I’m being honest, and hearkens back to different times. If this had been out when my best friend and I would drive around and flip a coin at rural intersections, trying to get lost, it would have been part of that soundtrack. Now that I’m a responsible adult it brings me thoughts of day drinking and skipping out of work early and hell, one day I just might give in. When I do there’d better be a bottle of Old Crow someplace close and American Dirt on the jukebox.
I might end up having to take a road trip to get to see these guys play live because they have made the top of my to-see list. I figure you already know that I think Heavy Thought & Riddle is Essential Listening but it’s also only a five spot to pick up for yourself. I know some of you bought some sort of half-caf-no-foam-soy-milk-chai-latte on your way to work this morning and it cost more than this whole damn album. So skip the hipster coffee tomorrow morning, drink your coffee like you were drinking last night, and save yourself enough bones to pick this one up.