Review Summary: Larry and His Flask....get in it.
There’s something magnetic about a band whose music emanates an aura of flippancy, the bands who are more likely to describe recording an album as “a lot of fun” rather than “a lot of work.” Now flippancy doesn’t (and shouldn’t) equate to a poor product but instead simply radiate fun. Larry and His Flask do just that with their infectious bluegrass/folk/punk hybrid By The Lamplight
. They have presented us a collection of toe-tapping, knee-slapping, and strangely danceable tunes whose novelty and originality sow seeds in the fertile parts of ze mind which grow into juicy fruits for our indulgence. It’s easy to hear the cohesiveness of the band members throughout By The Lamplight
yet the very nature of the songs makes it seem like the music was written on the spot. This bluegrassical example of controlled chaos can, if nothing else, be recommended for a damn enjoyable listen.
By The Lamplight
is a unique folk-monster, and a good example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. The sheer quirkiness of the writing makes its seemingly inane make-up, bluegrass, country, folk, and punk (I guess) not just palatable, but good
. As stated before, don’t let the description of flippancy shape your opinion of the music itself as from a technical standpoint these guys are well….on point. Although the drumming on some of the faster paced songs is quite literally interchangeable, it meshes with the multitude of instruments well and sits perfectly in the mixing. Everything else from the acoustic guitars and banjo to the various percussion instruments to the stand-up bass is primarily bluegrass infused and dammit do they infuse it well. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say it very well could make some change their mind about the genre. The mood present in By The Lamplight
is its greatest strength. It’s the smoky finger flowing from the freshly made apple pie beckoning you and try as you might, one can’t brush off such upbeat music easily.
The vocals of Ian Cook are another strong suit Larry and His Flask have going for them. Throughout the runtime of By The Lamplight
you get the feeling that his folksy baritone is pretty much irreplaceable for this kind of music and for good reason. Nowhere is this more evident than the acoustic opus (and I mean opus) “Gone From You.” The melancholic guitar in combination with Cook’s sad crooning makes for a downright powerful song, and lies in stark contrast to the entire album without feeling jarring. The hooks come way of the vocals more so than the instrumentation and Mr. Cook and crew showcase some catchy, varied hooks using three distinct singers, not just slight variations of the lead’s sound.
Larry and His Flask have concocted one of the catchiest, feel-good albums so far this year in By The Lamplight
. The band has a palpable connection so much so one can feel it in their music. This hopefully translates into more success for the band as they certainly deserve it. A little more diversity in the upbeat songs, especially the intros, would do the band well as it can get derivative and bleed together with repeated listens but with such upbeat tunes and grossly infectious hooks, your body will nonetheless find a reason to sway and move along. Larry and His Flask, get in it.