Where: Alive Naturalsound Records
‘Ride On The Train’ is the debut album for NYC’s own Hollis Brown. This four piece gather together to recreate the feel good qualities that I always see on TV with Americans rallying round cheering on some guy eating a bumload of food on Man Vs Food or cheering whenever someone mentions that 9/11 was bad like on Family Guy. These examples are bad and make me sound like a right tool I know, but I’m English and grinding my bad teeth together because it’s raining outside. I apologise.
These guys perform a special kind of bluesy rock and roll which perfectly encompasses the great American sound we’ve been hearing over the years. So while it doesn’t exactly set the world on fire it’s certainly inoffensive enough to be enjoyed by everybody who hears it. Opening track Ride On The Train features a sunny instrumentation inspired by the gorgeous southern weather which is detailed in the lyrics which really makes it a lovely way to get into a record; you can’t hate on something that smiles back at you.
This record is full of tracks that could be played on the radio. For example Down On Your Luck has every tool needed to be a great pop song: the catchy guitar riffs (complete with the occasional lick), vocal harmonies, change ups on the verse and chorus, and the catchy vocal hook. It’s great, and this kind of positive attitude is definitely needed to be spread around to as big an audience as possible.
Hollis Brown also know how to deliver the goods with their slower songs. Nothing & The Famous No One even at a slower pace manages to deliver a ridiculous amount of catchy hooks and memorable nice moments from the backing vocal harmony or the nice little tiddlydoo of the piano, to the wonderful acoustic bridge all the way to the whistling at the end makes it the highlight of Ride On The Train for me. It’s just an absolutely wonderful piece of music.
This record isn’t exactly going to change people’s lives or anything like that, but it will do its best to cheer you up. Hollis Brown deliver solid feelgood atmospheres track after track while throwing a smidge of variety in too. ‘Ride On The Train’ is a great debut album, and if it doesn’t cheer you up then you’re just the worst person ever.