Who Knows, the third album from jamband prodigies The McLovins was released early this month as a ‘name your price’ digital download, showcasing the maturing sound of this trio turned quartet. With guitarist Jeff Howard’s departure and the arrival of guitarists Justin Berger and Atticus Kelly, the band’s sound may change in the coming year but with this well produced album (by Tom Marshall & Anthony Krizan at Sonic Boom Studios) that provides the best recordings yet from the group.
Leading off with Hesitate, drummer Jake Huffman’s matured voice provides a balanced and strong lead in track on the album. Close to the Line features Howard’s soaring guitar as the meat between the bread of the lyrics accompanied by a jazzy section full of thick bass from Jason Ott. Cohesive, the first of three Tom Marshall penned tracks (Hesitate and Subdivision 2 are the others) is a light reggae-ish summertime tune, well-rounded by the band and lyrics such as “And when the dark invades my mood, that’s when I start to come unglued, and when my bases get releasive, I need to feel cohesive.”Mon Ami has a soft melody, quite mild compared to the rest of the album, so much so that most of the song could be heard on a ukulele before loud crescendos give a 5-hour energy shot to the placidity. The band returns to the composition, whistling ‘their favorite tune’. Tetop (short for ‘to each his own path’) is a highlight in concern, with funky drums and bass with guitar riffs in the studio take; subtract the lyrics and you could have a song from The Meters, but the lyrics have a mid-70s soul-explosion feel from Huffman and a falsetto chorus. On the Way Up has great potential in concert, and the wah-wah guitar sound will be impressive with two guitarists when this is played live. Subdivision 2 is very much like a mid 90s Phish song, and Tom Marshall’s writing has helped the band blossom as his writing was part of Phish’s burst 20 years ago. “Ready or not we’ll go through this together, you know I’d rather be touched than seen, we’ve gotta get through this screen” The album is capped off with Love is Purple, and much like the first album, ends with on a soft and uplifting note, this time with Jake on guitar singing a poetic love letter, captured fully in the line, “Love is why I clean up after you.”This is yet another impressive album from The McLovins, adding to their already impressive resume. For those who listen and have yet to see them live, in concert is where the group shines, and with a wide open 2012, they will be making stops at a number of festivals and venues throughout the Northeast.Key Tracks: Close to the Line, Cohesive, Subdivision 2
Download the album at mclovins.com