By Justin Lyons
The District Attorneys’ Slowburner would be easy to describe as southern rock reminiscent of The Drive-By Truckers. Much like The Drive-By Truckers, the quintet hails from Athens, but their debut album is more akin to the diverse stylings of My Morning Jacket and Band of Horses. The melodic hooks of Slowburner even touch Americana, garage rock and college rock along the way.
The DA’s gave fans an early look at the band’s creative process last fall when they offered up Waiting on the Calm Down, an EP full of well-crafted artful demos. Four of those tracks made the cut on Slowburner and deservedly so. As demos, the new material nearly seemed album ready with precise hooks and reverb-filled guitar tracks that balanced accessibility with creativity. With the help of producer/engineer Drew Vandenberg (Deerhunter, The Whigs), EP tracks are tweaked, not over-produced. The haze of garage rock on “California Fire” remains largely unchanged. “Worry About Your Health” further employs a grimy rock sound that haunts with plenty of reverb and heavy guitar growl, as lead singer/songwriter Drew Beskin reluctantly bemoans “I’m just playing the hand thats dealt.”
While many tracks favor heavy guitar sounds of pedal steel, the diversity of Slowburner makes for a well rounded effort. The title track kicks off the record with swirling guitar. “Cherry Glow” feels spectral with echoed hymns surrounded by light guitar strumming. The acoustic effort “Marmalade” employs harmonica and layered vocal harmonies while bemusing “if everyone could see their own charade with their own two, no mystery.”
Elsewhere, both previously teased and new material experiment with a bit of nostalgia. “Far Past The Point Of Resolved” tackles a failed relationship, but has a hook filled with “la la la’s” that bring to mind the ‘60s references the DA’s often have evoked. Lead single “Confusion of Trust” showcases a throwback to surf rock guitar and balances doo wop-style harmonies. An unexpected horn section shines nicely with crashing cymbals on “Here’s Your Star”, while “Boomtown” brings out horns in full force for an uptempo affair.
“The End” sounds decidedly much more polished than its previous iteration and stands out as one of the strongest in the set. The finished product pulls back the sea of reverb and dials up the swaying melody and layered guitar. Beskin details a familiar tale of moving on and not coming back for land, money or possessions. With the diverse range of Slowburner and potential success ahead for The District Attorneys, why would he?
The District Attorneys play their album release show at The EARL on Saturday, April 14 and pick up Slowburner on April 24.