You can expect to like the Saskatchewan natives’ new sound because it’s a simple and comfortable evolution from their debut hit.
Take the opening track, for example. ‘Laid Back’ starts with the comfortable run of a country-like guitar, but the folk-rock group takes something of a ’70s turn with the record, moving toward stronger vocals and tight, ELO-like harmonies
As an opening track, ‘Laid Back’ really establishes the band, proving that their sticking around. The urgency of the chorus offsets the laid-back meandering of the verses.
Even Ewan Currie’s vocals are stronger, more polished. Lyrically, they’re better too. On ‘Is Your Dream Worth Dying For?’, Currie sings:
“Well, I didn’t have to stray for so long / And I’ve really been away for so long / Didn’t have to come on so strong, darling / So, is your dream worth dying for?”
A more blatant turn that the band has taken is its new, bluesy tint, undoubtedly inspired by producer Patrick Carney of The Black Keys. Mostly apparent on ‘Feeling Good’, the bluesy-funk-meets-folk-rock sound works for the band quite well, especially since the strong vocals ground the track over delightfully heavy symbols and electric guitar.
Meanwhile, on ‘Ewan’s Blues’, the low stomp of base turns the record a darker corner as the eerily grainy music melds masterfully with the rich vocals. On this track, clearly a more personal one, Currie croons, “Well, you’ll never know / How I’ll love you so”.
‘The Way It Is’, the following track, is a stark contrast to the darkness of ‘Ewan’s Blues’. It’s one of the most upbeat songs on the record, making it perfect for a single (which it is). It’s a familiar sound, but is still exciting, epitomizing the evolution from Learn and Burn.
Throughout the record, the Sheepdogs continued to tweak their typical sound, experimenting with a variety of different musics. In the same comfortable vein of their folk-rock sound is ‘I Need Help’, but what makes this track particularly edgy and interesting is its playing with tempos. Simple verses are laid over full, intense choruses, with long, delightful instrumental interludes.
For more on The Sheepdogs, visit http://www.thesheepdogs.com.