Butch Walker - Sycamore Meadows

These days, in certain circles, Butch Walker is usually preceded by 'The legendary..' 'The acclaimed…' or 'The superlative…'. But since I've never really bought into the type of rock n roll Butch has purveyed I was a little dubious when Glitzine asked me to review 'Sycamore Meadows'.

Sitting here now I'm pretty chuffed (Northern word for happy) to be listening to Butch's latest offering. It's a bit of a departure from his other stuff so if, like me, you've never been a mega-fan, here's an opportunity to sample what everyone has been gassing on about. To the 'mega-fans' out there, well typically some of you will be disappointed - in a Bon Jovi type way when they released 'Lost Highway' which I also like by the way - and some will simply be happy with the progression.

So what does this album sound like? Well I have a very freaky imagination and the first thing that came into my head was 'Crowded House hooking up with Jesse Malin and learning how to play country rock'. Hey, if that sounds bad it isn't meant that way. The songs are mostly mellow, chillaxing and well constructed country-pop-rock and definitely catchy. It's a shame that Butch is unlikely to break into the UK mainstream but if ever he had a chance to do so, this may be his time. The song that really lends itself to the radio here is a song called 'Vessels' which has the hook 'We don't get along any more, you just take the bed, I'll take the floor'. It's a slice of pop wizardry that just casts that foot tapping, head nodding, 'trying to sing along but not knowing the lyrics' kinda spell on you.

The '3 Kids In Brooklyn' is a stomp-along spit and sawdust bar-room kinda thing that perhaps 'The Quireboys' shoulda done before their premature decline. But this is kinda atypical for this album. If you're into your epic ballads you should check out the beautiful 'Ships In a Bottle' which somehow manages to steer a zillion miles away from corny lyrics… no mean feat! Talking of lyrics, the script I seriously subscribe to is captured on 'A Song for Metalheads' - yes he's taking the piss.

It's a really stripped back album that you probably need to be in the mood for.

Definitely not a disc to whack on just as you're heading out… more the type of thing you'd put on when you get back from the night out to relax to with a fine wee drab of single malt… just me then?

9/10

by Hilda

Visit the Butch Walker Website