I started listening to the recent album From The Grave from The Almond Butters on their Bandcamp page and my first thought was I hope they are doing a sound check before the show or the audience is barricaded behind a fence out of the camera scope when I glanced at the picture they had up.
My second thought was that if the recording quality was about thirty-five percent better I could really embrace some of the material. There is lo-fi and then there are just bad recordings, which is unfortunately what this falls under. That being said, the band can write a tune and has some original sounding material. They pull off interesting rock/psychedelic/funk soundscapes that are coupled with dreamy vocals. The vocals are on point through much of the album and nail it when the lead singer goes into falsetto.
The first track “Spin To Night” is a solid track that contains some notable horn and guitar work. I especially enjoyed the horns, which created a “Superfly” 1970’s feel. Good track overall. The second track “Crackbilly” is the biggest misstep on the album. It contains rapping that for some reason has a hall reverb, which makes it almost impossible to understand what is being said. Additionally a deep kick drum was needed but was completely vacant. There actually is some really cool guitar work though, which redeemed the song somewhat.
“Hot Splinters” works on a number of levels. It’s oddly hypnotic and dreamy but also has inventive timing and progressions. It reminded me somewhat of Ariel Pink. “Highland Park” was another solid song that contains a bit of blues while the closer “Look To The Sky” is a slow funk-induced tune that has arguably the best vocals on the album.
My message to the band is that next time around do whatever you can to improve the recording quality. The songs are there but it takes a lot of work to find them. Befriend an engineer, get a part-time job and save your cash for studio time or just invest into decent gear and know-how.
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