FAME Review: The Habit - The Town We Live In
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The Habit - The Town We Live In

The Town We Live In

The Habit

Reel to Reel Records - R2R 929-106

Available from CD Baby.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker
(progdawg@hotmail.com)

The Habit is an ensemble carrying on the 80s search for just what Americana meant in terms of the rockin' rollin' alternative spirit engulfing that decade. You 'member those efforts, doncha? The Textones, Legal Reins, Rank & File, the Del-Lords, Stray Cats, Cowboy Junkies, etc. The matter was never resolved in its day and still hasn't been to this moment, which has only provoked groups like this one to tackle it and throw it around from post to post. Produced by Ivan Julian, he of Richard Hell & the Voidoids fame, Town is a rough and tumble affair, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Demons, my favored cut, is highly reminiscent of the 70s Americana group McKendree Spring (released several LPs and unfortunately didn't go much of anywhere despite a cartload of great songs, especially the anarcho-psychedeli-hillbillie God Bless the Conspiracy), also bringing Kaleidoscope and other long-lost bands to memory…not to mention Neil Young, Demons cuts into quintessential Neil-isms. This group didn't take much trouble in attributing things properly (strange songwriting credits, vocals attributed carelessly, etc.) so I won't either, but whoever's singing in Break Down the Walls possesses a smash-through-barricades delivery, hard-charging and raucous, rebellious and then some.

Of course, Siobhan Glennon's much more delicate and sensitive singing is contrastily distinctive, though elements of doom and clamor enter into Annabel, it's close-out lead guitar spot QUITE Crazy Horse-ish, Glennon's keyboards swirling beneath. Will Croxton and Brian Mendes tend to the hardtack and somewhat sloppy side of their guitars, and that's the perfect choice of inflection, making the material all the more echo back to prairie days and rough-hewn pioneers crossing the plains. Lotsa no-nonsense attitude, gritted teeth, wistfulness, and waves of stolidly forging forward. That last part's perfectly underscored in Leave Her, Johnny, a sideways take partially based on a famed O. Henry story, Mike Ratti's primitive drum banging away and the barroom choir stamping all around the spitting steaming singer (again, no clue who). Looking to mess up yer dungarees and smoke some corn silk behind the barn, are ya, y'all? Then this is the music to do it to.

Track List:

  • E-V-O-L (Will Croxton)
  • Demons (Will Croxton)
  • Break Down the Walls (Will Croxton)
  • Tell Me How from Love to Fly (Will Croxton)
  • Speckled Brown (Brian Mendes)
  • Annabel (Brian Mendes)
  • Leave Her, Johnny (Brian Mendes)
  • From Seat 9 (Croxton / Lewis)
  • All the Pretty Girls (Will Croxton)
  • You Will Miss Me When I'm Gone (Will Croxton)
  • Boat On a River (Brian Mendes)
  • For You (Brian Mendes)
(No songwriting credits given.)

Edited by: David N. Pyles
(dnpyles@acousticmusic.com)

Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
 
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