Music Reviews: Architects, Danielia Cotton and the Band of Heathens
Eagle County correspondent
I for one hope that The Architects stay around for a long time. It’s hard to find bands these days that know how to rock out like AC/DC yet avoid sounding like morons with dumb party lyrics in a bid to revive the ’80s glam-rock scene. The Architects don’t try to re-create any genres or particular eras of music, they just take the best facets of power-rock and punk, throw in some cool lyrics and let the rest take care of itself.
On “Vice,” the band’s third release, they take the title-theme and run with it. On the song “Pills” frontman Brandon Phillips sings “One for your anger/Two for your heartbreak/One for your cold-sweats/Two if your hands shake,” which could just as easily be an anthem for drug use as a warning to avoid them.
On the call-and-response, riff-heavy “New Boots And Truncheons,” the band tackles the abuse of power by governments (a battle cry if I’ve ever heard one) right after singing about a drug-dealing dad shot down by the cops on “Daddy Wore Black.”
An old-school sound with new-school sensibilities, The Architects new album is one vice you should not avoid.
Guitar-shredding, soul-singing femme-rocker Daniellia Cotton is back with her sophomore release “Rare Child,” a blistering mix of sex-drenched rock ‘n’ roll and gospel-choir purity. And wow, what a voice Cotton has!
From the opening slide-bass and bongos of “Make You Move” it’s easy to tell what Cotton is going for here: The rock-star presence of a Mick Jagger or Janis Joplin and the voodoo chops of Jimi Hendrix. And she pulls it off to a certain extent, too.
She keeps the intensity level pretty high through the first half of the album. The album’s title-track features Cotton’s screeching guitar solos in between lyrics that are basically about her talents. Hey, why not brag a little bit when you’re this good?
Her slow-strummer “Running” is nestled in the middle of all the action and doesn’t really have the electricity generated early on by Cotton. The second act builds steam, especially on “Dark Desire,” where Cotton’s soaring vocals play against dark and distorted guitar tones, but then quickly falls back into power-ballad song structures that fail to captivate. Cotton’s career has hopefully just begun, and “Rare Child,” although not flawless, is a big step along the way.
This hot new band out of Austin, Texas is a happy blend of country (the Waylon Jennings kind, not the Big and Rich kind), blues and southern-rock and their self-titled album showcases the raw talents of a group of musicians that love what they do. Whether sliding and picking on the soulful “Cornbread” or straight up rocking out on the up-tempo “Heart On My Sleeve” it’s clear that these guys know how to make each musical style their own, even when they’re just being conventional.
Most of the album falls squarely into alt-country and blues territory though, so don’t expect a Wilco or Old 97’s album from these guys. Actually, the slow-pacing of many of their songs gives the individual musicians a chance to shine while remaining cohesive as a band. And since The Band of Heathens doesn’t really have a frontman, it’s much easier to pick up on how the band is working together to achieve their sound.
The Band of Heathens has received much acclaim for their live shows, but their first studio album does a fine job capturing the essence of their music and personality.
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