31 July 2018 (released)
31 July 2018
Groove is the God of music. It's that indescribable space between notes where rock, soul, funk, jazz, country, and metal all find their life. Before anyone tied up a string and plucked it or buzzed their lips through a horn, we banged sticks on rocks and gave birth to the beat. Now, there are countless ways to hit a groove. Blues players can let a beat hang for what feels like an eternity, like throwing a rock in the air and having it disappear into the sun before coming back to earth. It's the pain of the space between wanting and having, and blues masters play with it to no end. James Brown lets the beat hang in his own way, though if you're not paying attention you'll miss it. Amidst the relentless strumming, his guitarist will hold out for a split second on the third beat, giving the groove a decided jab. Syncopation in full effect. Thrash metal and country find common ground in their love for straighter rhythmic patterns in the drums while letting their own lightning licks dance over them. Whether it's Marty Stuart or Kirk Hammet, both find a groove by bouncing back and forth between nimble, speedy lines and long-held bends. I haven't even delved into all the dance based genres but it's clear that good music is almost always predicated on the presence of a solid sense of groove.
Tampa country band Alien Country pepper in sci-fi references and anecdotes into what would otherwise be considered fairly standard country fare. Fiddles and slide guitars are all present and accounted for. This project is the brainchild of Liam Marcus Torres and he sites many 80s metal guitarists as influences. In collaboration with some outside players, he has been able to craft a lush soundscape of country rock sonics.
So why the long-winded introduction paragraph about groove? There is something a little off about this album. Whether it's the vocal lines, the guitar leads or just how the drumming synchs up to the rhythm instruments, there's a pervasive awkwardness between the parts. Now, it's not like the playing is amateurish by any means and each player is getting great tone from their instruments. There are some moments where they hit their stride but for the most part, they just don't seem to be grooving with each other. It seems like more time was needed to feel out the parts before the recording process.