Hailing from the beloved borough of Brooklyn, Hollis Brown are a gang of guys who claim the musical trade of roots rockers, both in musical tone and style. Old upright pianos, fuzz driven rhythm guitars, and explorative overdriven vocals that dance around in each of the songs. It is really tough to pin down an exact sound these guys have because their sound can be quite diverse within their own niche. Hollis Brown do well by phasing in echoes of sonic ghosts: I hear Marshal Tucker Band, the Beatles, Led Zeppelin, The Band, Don McLean, Bob Dylan (mid 60s), among many more that creep through each of the tracks. These guys have definitely done their homework and breathe some life into the faded glories of rock’s first generations.
Hollis Brown’s tribute to rock’s past decades is a solid attempt at nailing a new generation’s take on old classics – and there are many classics that these songs re-present well. Having said that, my first hope is that they might be able to make this attempt their own. In some ways they do; in other ways, they wear the tones of the legends like old stuffy clothes you bring out for role-play. What will be the test for these guys will be taking all of the beautiful things they draw from rock’s roots, dusting it off, and making it their own style. They might just be able to pull it off if people like me stop baulking about folks like Hollis Brown helping people explore the attic of rock and roll for awhile. Having said that, it might take another album to convince me that this is something that can be sustained and remain original.
Lyrics: (2.2 / 3.0)
Hollis Brown frontman Mike Montali’s voice is so crucial to this band’s sound, and because of that he can really give the lyrics a power of their own. Most of the themes are rock standards of life, love, unfortunate circumstances, mysterious women, and the blues. These lyrics fit the songs well and Mike does a great job presenting them.
Style/Artistry/Relevance/Function: (2.3/ 3.0)
These guys do very well at capturing the musical motifs of the past and work well in their own style. It is nice to see another up-and-coming band that has cut their teeth on good resources and navigated the gold tones with their own compass. It will be very interesting to see where these boys are in about five years when dust has resettled and they are taking this style into new areas.
Opinion: ( .6/ 1.0)
I might sound harsh at times about these guys – and it really is my own fault- but these guys do deserve some credit for this album. It is a pretty good album that I hope will make some waves in the modern music scenes and help these guys to keep honing their “rootsy” sounds and craft future masterpieces. Keep it coming, guys.
Total: 7.4 (Good)
S. Adam Standiford – August 22, 2013 – Pocahontas Trail
0 – Worthless / 1 – Atrocious / 2 – Horrible / 3 – Undesirable / 4 – Less than expected / 5 – Average/Favorable / 6 – Decent / 7 – Good / 8 – Great / 9 – Classic / 10 – Legend