Album Review: Whitetrash And The Spear-Headed Sparrowhawks – Lostman EP

I have written about Whiterash on the blog before. He got in touch with me recently about the new EP that they are releasing. So seeing as the EP was launched last week, it is high time that I reviewed
it.

The “Lostman” EP was launched last week with abig night in the Grand Social in Dublin. The EP itself was self-funded with the money for the post-production raised through a Fund-It Campaign. But back to the music. The EP was mixed and recorded by Dave Heraty. I mention that because one thing you notice about all the tracks on the EP is the strong, full, bright sound that inhabits all of the tracks. These are not peeled back, raw, melodies. It’s the exact opposite. There are layers of instrumentation here yet the songs never feel like they are too busy. A tough task to master. The arrangements are superb.

The opener on the EP is the dark and moody title track. The first thing that strikes you when you listen to the EP is Conor aka Whitetrahs’s voice. It’s hard to imagine how anyone can sing like that for long. The gravely voice feels like its resting on the shoulders of a man who has been crossing the country on freight train carriages who has gathered more experiences in a week than I could amass in a year. What I’m trying to say is that when he sings about going to Jackson you believe him. With the guitar licks, harmonica and those words, Lostman is the essence of a confessional of regrets that you can easily identify with.

The gospel like “Release Me” opens with a chorus that sounds like it came straight out of a Baptist preacher. It’s only when the rhythm section kicks in that you realise it is not the work of a southern churchman. The guitar dominates this song yet never feels like its controlling the song. The solo is a straight up in your face and and when the songs picks up pace in the final third, you cant help tappin’ your foot.

I won’t feature all the track here. They are on Soundcloud for you to explore. “Runnin’ Down the Mountain” which I have discussed previously again has echoes of a southern gospel tune while “Grave Robbin’ Man” and “Devil’s Chain” again explore the experiences of men hard done by.

It’s rare that an artist can fuse gospel with alt-country and rock without it sounding like a mess but WhiteTrash has skilfully welded all these genres into one sound. It’s powerful, chest thumping melodies are ones would be all the better for listening to.

You can get a physical copy of the EP through BandCamp where t-shirts and the like are also available. Keep up with what Whitetrash and the rest of the Sparrowhawks are up to with their Facebook.

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