Kasey Anderson and The Honkies - Heart Of A Dog Review
Posted by Adam Hill on 02.15.2011
Kasey Anderson has brought together a strong ensemble to help him move away from the roots-rock genre and into a heavier sound. Does he succeed? 411’s Adam Hill checks in with his full review.
1) The Wrong Light 2) Mercy 3) Exit Ghost 4) Your Side Of Town 5) Sirens And Thunder 6) Kasey Anderson’s Dream 7) My Blues, My Love 8) My Baby’s A Wrecking Ball 9) Revisionist History Blues 10) For Anyone 11) Save It For Later
”The Wrong Light”
”I just wanted to a make a record that could not be described by using the word ‘twang’.” That sentence, uttered in an interview with Altsounds provides a simple but effective insight into the mindset of Kasey Anderson as he and his ‘Honkies’ (known by day as Long Winters' Eric Conson and Andrew McKeag, as well as Mike Musburger of Supersuckers) embarked on the production of Heart Of A Dog.
An expert in the field of world-weary, ‘roots-rock’ or ‘alt-country’ music, Anderson was keen to break away from the constrictions of those labels and create something a little more heavy, encased in rock as opposed to folk. Opening track “The Wrong Light” is a heck of a way to go about starting that process. This is a track that is just dripping in sleazy blues rock, entirely salacious in its sound; it’s a great opening statement. If there are any film-makers out there, looking to soundtrack a scene where an obscenely hot woman is walking through a dark underground bar, full of tough looking bikers, all of whom stare as she struts in, with the camera tracking up her long legs to her head, look no further, this is the song you will be begging to use.
Nothing quite matches the promise of “The Wrong Light” however, and the album does, in places, slip back into the relative comfort of the roots-rock genre Anderson was keen to avoid. The tracks gradually mellow, through the delightful “Exit Ghost” to the gentle, emotive, ballad, “Your Side Of Town”. Then BOOM, the blues rock is back for “Sirens And Thunder” and the foot-tapping, riff-a-licious “Kasey Anderson’s Dream”. From then on in, the listener is heaved about like flotsam on the sea as the tracks undulate like waves, from rock to soft ballad.
That’s not to say it’s not good, but while the album is distinctly heavier than previous efforts, his stated objective is not entirely met. It’s getting there though, and it is encouraging to hear of a musician openly challenging themselves to evolve and expand without sounding like a pretentious jackass. What is also encouraging is the fact that it is without question those rockier efforts that stand out, that are the most fun and enjoyable. If Anderson can continue to move he and The Honkies in this direction, the next album will most likely fully meet his musical ambition and no doubt be crammed with quality blues rock we can all jam to.
The 411: Kasey Anderson may be keen to shake off the roots-rock label he has been tagged with but Heart Of A Dog doesn’t quite make it. It is still a decent album, full of quality, narrative driven song writing and occasional glimpses of full-on blues rock brilliance and it bodes well for the direction he is traveling in. “The Wrong Light” and “Kasey Anderson’s Dream” in particular, give an insight into the dirtier, riff heavy sound Anderson is keen to explore and, accompanied by The Honkies, if he can continue this musical evolution, the next album could turn out to be amazing.