We Live in Sod Houses is a folk-blues- almost retro-rock-pop band based out of Iowa who just released their 13 track CD entitled “Shark for a Week.”
WOW I love everything about these two! Some have slow burning tempos via amazing arrangements that just sort of happen. They quicken the tempo on other songs and rock out on others. The overall vibe I get is this artist is holding nothing back, thus steering clear of reducing songs to sanitized versions of themselves. The first few songs (Love Them Hate Them), (People) and (Shark for a Week) hit the deck running as this bursts to life via well-appointed movements, soulful-rock vibe and a warm vocal presence up front. Also present are tight harmonies from both Dustin and Rachel DeBoer. For the record Dustin is the vocal primary.
Full band line-up includes: Dustin DeBoer (Guitar & Vocals), Rachel DeBoer (Vocals and Percussion), Josh Rieck (Bass), Steve Carlson (Drums).
Both have effective voices, especially together. Also present the consistent groove-ridden rhythm guitar and rhythm section. In my opinion this project features 2 main ingredients: Dustin/Rachel on vocals and the distorted guitar. To me these 2 personify the core sound of retro rock of the 70’s through to today.
This may sound stupid – but it’s amazing to me how valuable these 2 instruments (voice/guitar) have been over the last 50 years in American Music. However it’s what you do with those 2 instruments that matters. Having said that “We Live in Sod Houses” capture a songwriting style that just makes all of this work oh so well. The three components – voice, guitar, and writing are finely balanced within the mix. The vocal range of these two, especially appealing to the higher registry are artfully defined while still layered quite nicely within the pocket. Both have much to offer insofar as passion, grit and power without falling into the vocalist-with-supporting-arrangement trap. With marquee tracks like (Love Them Hate Them), (Crack in time) and (Old Yarn) they stimulate the senses. One can’t help but admire how all the instruments and musical styles are distributed masterfully within this 13 track set.
This is a true to form old school alt-rock-blues with even a little what I call “couples punk.” that successfully captures the vintage songwriting virtuoso. There’s sprinkle of Blues, maybe Funky Soul and Folk-Pop in there as well – though I could be wrong. Bring in some wine, a good crowd and some soul food – yeah you get it to. Throughout all piece one will notice a tragic-sweetness and blooming hooks all the while maintaining an intimate “conservative” bluesy-groovy feel. “Shark for a Week” by “We Live in Sod Houses” is one of the best CD’s I’ve heard this year. It’s undeniably Blues based with an almost Rocking Americana feel to it. All songs on “Shark for a Week” captures a good adrenalized live sound as well.
Many songs on this album are more than ripe for all the old blues school rockers out there but this album could easily be liked by all music fans out there. Here expect no overdubbing or disappointingly amateurish mixing with a disingenuous attempt in making a hit record. These are high-quality, clean recordings that balances out both natural and midi sounds flawlessly. The music though effective is not up to the level of some of the hookier styles of music I’ve heard like Suoperheavy, The Hetchmen, Mr. Airplane Man, Mickey and Sylvia and Blanche and even some older material from the B52’s..
– Matthew Crenshaw. Approved by Cyrus Rhodes.
Score: 4.5/5 Stars