Published Jun 24, 2016Seattle-based trio Lonesome Shack return with their ambitious double-album The Switcher, a bare-bones record spanning 14 tracks of gritty blues.
Since their debut in the early 2000s, Lonesome Shack have often been referred to as a less-refined Black Keys. This comparison rings true throughout The Switcher, which sounds like the Akron, OH duo if you replaced their pop sensibilities with bourbon-soaked bluegrass. The Switcher's production is deliberately raw, its organic sound more reminiscent of a live jam in a seedy saloon than a studio project. You can almost feel a creaking floorboard under your foot as you sleepily tap along to slow-burners like "Stuff From a Cup" and closing track "Blood."
Ben Todd's straightforward blues riffs often see little variance throughout each song, but rather than coming off as repetitive and monotonous, they propel tunes forward with head-nodding, mesmerizing rhythms. Todd's vocals are more restrained than they were on the band's previous effort, More Primitive, and there's a haunting quality to the muddy vocal recording on tracks like "Junk Train."
The second half of the record kicks off with "Sugar Farm," a standout track driven by an earworm riff and complemented by subdued lead playing that sits neatly atop the loose grooves of the bass and drums. Dirty blues albums aren't usually this catchy, but Lonesome Shack have put together a double-album worthy of the extended tracklisting on The Switcher. (Independent)