If you like your Bluegrass of the high octane variety, and I do, then you will find the Water Tower Bucket Boys sound irresistibly infectious. Hailing from the US capital of all things weird, Portland, Oregon, the guys mash together a diverse range of influences on this their 4th studio album for a sound that is given an extra edge by producer Mike Herrera of punk band MxPx. From the off it is hard to resist the charms of this album. Crooked Road lulls you in with its gentle, lazy arrangement before the chorus moves the tempo into 5th gear and lays the foundation for the little pearls of joy to come.
There is no doubt that when the tempo is up this album works at its best. Tracks like Bread, London Breakdown and Blackbird Pickin' at a Squirrel conjure images in the mind of hay strewn dance floors filled with electrified dancers high on life and moonshine. The album has plenty of less frantic moments with the mellow and strangely beautiful Telegraph providing an welcome change of pace. A particular highlight is the wonderful Tequila With Lime with hypnotic guitar and banjo driving it along and complemented by some amazing vocal harmonies.
The album closes on what is perhaps my favourite track of the 13 on offer. Heaven is a bittersweet tale of what awaits for us when we shuffle off our mortal coil and the addition of drums from Tumbledown's Harley Trotland gives it a slightly poppier feel.
This is a warm and life affirming piece of work that easily deserves a bigger audience. Don't be frightened off by the word Bluegrass. With bands like The Avett Brothers and these guys bringing a punk attitude to the genre you would be missing out if you don't give it a listen and this album is the perfect place to start.