30 September 2019

Folk Rock Review: Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors - Dragons

Release Date: August 16, 2019
Label:  Magnolia Records/Thirty Tigers

Dragons, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors latest release, starts breathing fire then settles into the cozy creature comforts of Alternative Country music. I wouldn't call it Alt-Folk because there is too much foot-stomping rhythm. I wouldn't call it Alt-Rock because there is too much acoustic styling and harmonic balladeering. Alt or even straight-up Country defines it better. 

"Family," the opening track gets you from the get-go. It will have you running to the kitchen for a jug to blow into, or a pair of spoons to slap on your knees. It's a celebration of your own, ripe with reality. "It ain't always pretty, can drive you insane…". Despite its energy, the song comes across as a bit derivative. I couldn't help think of the Lumineers Hey, Ho. Alter the simple bass drum beat slightly and replace "Hey, Ho" with "Family" and you've got an eerily similar song. 

"End of the World," keeps the fire burning and deepens the dimensions with rich lyrics and harmonies diving in and out of thundering choruses and soft interludes. From here, the band moves into a set of lovelorn and lovestruck ballads replete with hackneyed country platitudes. This grouping of songs – collaborations with The Lone Bellow, Ellie Holcomb (Drew's wife), Lori Mckenna & Natalie Hemby – alter the course of the album, taming the dragon and chaining it to a tree. The slower turn has some merits as the melodies are rife with emotion and the pain in Mr. Holcomb's voice sounds drawn from experience.  

The album cover represents two images of Drew Holcomb and following course; the album struggles to find its identity. Despite the stylistic dichotomy, all these songs have sincere, wholesome, and heartfelt threads ARE woven through them. If you're a music fan who values songs over albums, you'll undoubtedly find some gems on Dragons. As a whole, however, it feels a bit disjointed and ordinary.


Key Tracks Include: “Family”, “End of the World”

Tom Endyke-MuzikMan.net Staff
September 22, 2019



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Tracks:
01. Family
02. End of the World
03. But I’ll Never Forget the Way You Make Me Feel
04. Dragons
05. See the World
06. You Want What You Can’t Have
07. Maybe
08. Make it Look so Easy
09. You Never Leave
My Heart
10. Bittersweet

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