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Doc Yates and the Kings Evil – Sweat It Out – Album Review

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If there’s any hope that someone could bridge the gap between alt-country and pop-country it may lie with Doc Yates and the Kings Evil. On their upcoming record Sweat It Out, Yates and company mix a country sound with blues, classic and hard rock influences to craft a record that will have something for anyone without feeling dishonest or unoriginal. It may be one of the only country rock records that mixes parts Rolling Stones, Nirvana and modern sounds like Hey Rosetta among others.

There’s a bright opening to the album on “Blue Skies, Green Eyes” with a heavy and warm bass, mixed with powerful harmonies. Together they create a song that’s not just catchy but emotionally powerful, and with enough depth to push it beyond a simple song. “These Shoes” goes into a fast country shuffle, filled with vicious solos, pumping bass, and a sad love story to drive it all.

The light touch that opens “Daisy” is dropped for a pounding rock sound in every chorus, with intensity taking the wheel. The track does find a balance between the two in the remaining verses to help the album feel consistent. “Four Fingers of Whiskey” plays like a swamp-country take on “Sympathy For The Devil” mixed with a dark tale of drinking and debauchery. The track doesn’t let up after its intro, only pausing for dynamic vocal breaks that make their choruses even more gripping.

The hardest rock comes on “Shakem Down” with enough distortion to make it easy to forget the country tone the album carries, despite this however the track is a solid rock track, if a little straightforward at times. Fun and swing are high on “Hard Road Home” making  a love song with a euphoric mix of rhythm and melodies for a very enjoyable track.

“First Dance” takes things even more sombre for a soft and intimate track, with tender vocals and lyrics that will melt listeners like butter. The quaint little solo and the subtle backing vocals really set the track as the album’s emotional best. Taking some notes from classic rock, Yates goes for the held back intro on “All That I Needed.” Once the song kicks in the blues-rock’s solid groove and distorted harmonica enough to push it past a typical chord progression.

Yates has one last surprise on “Closer (Until We Meet Again),” with a higher sense of sonic sophistication than the rest of the record, and more variation in dynamics as well. The track finds Yates stretching his vocals and writing technique for a solid and impressive closer.

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Owen Maxwell