Hailing from Los Angeles The Canyoneers consisting of Mary Beth and Ben James started rocking out in 2012 and recently released their debut album entitled Sneak Attack! On paper they might seem like a White Stripes clone but after listening to their album they actually have little in common with the band. The Canyoneers split vocal duties throughout the album and neither voice seems to dominate. Stylistically, most of the music is rooted in blues but doesn't shy away from rock and sometimes even metal. At the heart of the material is a guitar album with down home and gritty songs with a good amount of attitude.
First up is “Wild Highways,” which revolves around a lot of creative lead guitar parts and Mary Beth James tackling most of the vocal duties. It’s a rocking first song, which shies away from the blues style they incorporate later on but nonetheless is a powerful intro. The second song “New Boo” is straight up blues-inspired in the vein of early ZZ Top. Ben James and Mary Beth James split up the vocal duties for the verses and eventually combine forces towards the end of the song.
“Before the Past” has a playful vocal melody that lyrically dabbles in existential questions about the origin of the universe. The way they approach the topic doesn't seem contrived and pretentious but naturally curious.
“Fire Sale” is the heavy-hitting song on the album sounding a bit like Soundgarden at points while “The Crab” is the first time the band embraces an acoustic guitar. I actually would have thought a couple of more stripped down songs like this would have been a pleasant deviation. They close with “Kittie Calypso,” which is another striped-down acoustic number. I did find it a bit odd that they decided to end the album with two acoustic songs when the rest of the album is predominantly distorted electric guitars.
Overall, this is a solid effort with a number of well-written songs.
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