Edie Brickell & New Bohemians – Hunter and the Dog Star
Despite the success of many mainstream US rock acts, there are a whole host of American alternative bands that fail to make the crossover. In some cases, it is because their sound can seem passé; in others, their localised style fails to resonate beyond the Atlantic. With Edie Brickell & New Bohemians, it is partially the latter. Yet, listeners who ignore Hunter and the Dog Star because of this will deny themselves 40 minutes of aural delight.
It was the late 80s when the ensemble was pushed for commercial success. Though they have never had a top-10 tune since then, the group has developed a loyal fanbase in their hometown of Texas, generated by their formidable performances.
The tracks that replicate the feel of a vibrant live show are the most infectious. Album-opener Sleeve (about the addiction of getting tattoos) sees each member of Brickell’s backing band display their harmonious talents throughout. The country-influenced Horse’s Mouth is electrified by its fast tempo carried by Kenny Withrow’s guitar solos. Finally, the closer My Power has an anthemic chorus powered by long-echoing open chords and the groovy bass of Brad Houser.
On Hunter and the Dog Star – as in live sets – there are inevitably slower numbers. The woozy Pink Floyd-inspired feel of Miracles and the acoustic, finger-picking country ballad Rough Beginnings are pleasant, but the musical equivalent of floating clouds: they pass on by. What makes the two particularly easy to forget are the strong songs that surround them: the organ-driven, pop brilliance of Stubborn Love and the funk-infused groove of the all-too-brief Tripwire and Don’t Get in the Bed Dirty.
Though famed for her narrative lyrical prowess, Brickell is not so much the star of the album as the band is. It makes one hope musicians like them are the first audiences can see perform when the lockdown ends. Should they not make it across the Atlantic, overseas listeners have the perfect excuse to make the plane journey to Dallas and join their faithful fanbase live for what would undoubtedly be a night to remember.
Photo: Todd Crusham
Hunter and the Dog Star is released on 19th February 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Edie Brickell & New Bohemians’ website here.
Watch the video for My Power here: