Shepherd’s Pie is a four-piece rock band from Louisiana that doesn’t seem content playing one style of music. On their recent full-length album The Jar is a Door the band flirts with a surplus of sub-genres under the umbrella of rock as well as brief ventures into bluegrass. It’s an odd pairing that you don’t hear very often but more on that later. The other sub-genres they play range from classic rock to grunge to ska. By the end of the fifteen-song album you are left a bit confused by the lack of continuation of any one style. Nonetheless, the band occasionally strikes gold and I found that I appreciate their work more when looking at it as a collection of singles.
The opener “Renea” is an instrumental atmospheric piece that revolves around subtle percussion elements, acoustic guitar and gurgling warm pads. It serves as a bit of an intro but actually isn’t very indicative of what you can expect from the rest of the album.
“The Veil” is a rock song that tips its hat to Alice In Chains. Watch out as the group pulls off a double guitar solo and the singer adapts his singing style to fit the music. One of my favorite tracks “Buttermilk Biscuits” was also one of the shortest. It features some decent banjo skills and impressive reverb covered vocal work. “With You” is a hybrid rock/funk based song that sounds like a cross between Red Hot Chili Peppers and Maroon 5.
“Treehouse” is yet another departure and flirts with reggae. It’s a well-written song with a couple of blazing guitar solos. The band isn't satisfied as they plunge into instrumental math rock with “Spork In The Road.” It’s filled with intricate timings and a number of rocking guitar riffs.
At fifteen songs deep The Jar is a Door is a hefty listen that will most likely create an ambivalent relationship with an audience. It may be hard establishing a fan base with this effort just because they flirt with so many different styles and don’t rely on a foundation that people can rely on. Don’t get me wrong - the band is talented and they have a lot of ambition but I think they would benefit by concentrating their efforts into one style.
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