The Knollwood Boys is a five-piece rock band from Indianapolis, Indiana comprised of Brent Bockelman (guitar/keys), Kit Clouser (guitar/vocals), Quin Starks (lead guitar/Vocals), Steve Webb (bass/vocals) and Albie Witz (drums) that recently released a ten-song album entitled Beyond the Peonies. The band has been together since 2010 and it comes across when you listen their music. It’s a combination of the band having a cohesive sound, which is consistent throughout and the tight performances which is something that a band in their first years usually has some trouble with.
The Knollwood Boys are unequivocally a rock band but I wouldn’t put them in the hard rock category. Their songs fall in line with warm Americana rock that sounds good at an outdoor summer barbeque or by a nighttime bonfire. For comparison’s sake, songs from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, John Mellencamp and even Jimmy Buffet would sound perfectly at home in a playlist with The Knollwood Boys.
There isn’t a lot of blistering guitar solos or Neil Peart inspired drum fills. The thing that stuck out to me was the songwriting and the fact that each member was supplying what was necessary for the song. No more - no less. When you get down to it Beyond the Peonies has heartfelt, no frills style songs that have no excess fat.
One thing that does need to be pointed out is the exceptional vocal work throughout the album. You can hear what I’m talking about on the first song “King.” The vocal style is confident yet not aggressive and pretty comforting in some ways. Some people have a warmth in their voice and that's what I hear here. “King” could also be the single of the album. It contains a Steve Miller band sing-a-long type quality that doesn’t take long to sink in. “King” also contains some exceptional drumming. Again, nothing over the top but what the song calls for.
The band has more success on the upbeat yet relaxing sounding “Outta the City.” I could picture space hippies getting down with their hippy dance on this track. The third track “Curtains” was a personal highlight. I can’t resist a good nostalgic, heartfelt song and “Curtains” gets it right. As the album progresses there's really little to complain about from the inspiring “Push On” to the feeling good and grooving “Mysterious Ways.”
After spending some time with this album. I think it's safe to say that these songs probably sound great live. Do yourself a favor and check out to see if The Knollwood Boys are playing by you. While you’re waiting, spinning Beyond the Peonies is perfectly good way to pass the time.
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