The Delines are a self described “retro country” group formed with members from The Decemberists, Richmond Fontaine, and Minus 5. Those groups were rock based so the knowledge that The Delines are country is intriguing.
Cheer Up Charley- This song, instrumentally, isn’t interesting. While the production is sleek the guitar lines remain the same the entire time. There needed to be something to break up the monotony. The vocals are nice, they are reserved and fit well with the instrumental tone. The content is about a man who is sad about losing his girl, which isn’t groundbreaking but I wasn’t expecting it to be.
The Imperial- This song has the same tempo as Cheer Up Charley. I hope going forward that we get something a little more fast paced just to see whether the quality is the same. This song is about a woman who has been surrounded by people addicted to drugs. I like that the content is subtle. While it is easy to pick up on the themes, it’s not glaringly obvious. The vocals are good, but they are a bit monotone so I was hoping there would be a change in her tone but there wasn’t.
Where Are You Sonny?- The instrumentals on this song are really Jazzy. The trumpet is the most prominent with the slow guitar add to this aesthetic. The lyrics are about a woman who is leaving her man because he is always getting caught up doing bad things. The chorus repeating “three days” isn’t exactly clear as to what that means which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I think if the chorus is confusing it at least needs to be catchy which this is not. I have noticed a theme in these songs in that sad and/or bad men are the main focus. Let’s see if that theme is consistent.
Let’s Be Us Again- This song again is trumpet heavy. The tempo remains slow which I hope changes pretty soon. While I think that this slowness sounds nice I would like to see something different. The lyrics have shifted a little. This time it is about a woman wanting her and her partner to go back to what they used to be. It isn’t focused on a particular person’s problem or traits it’s pretty general. The repetitiveness of the title gets really old.
Roll Back My Life- The beginning of the song is focused on the vocals with a subtle piano in the background which is really pretty. There is a guitar in the background that I almost didn’t notice, but it adds to the vibe of the song which is passive and reflective. There aren’t many lyrics because the instrumentals tell the story. I didn’t think I would enjoy a song like this, but I did.
Eddie & Polly- This song is more lively than the others with the background vocals adding a new dimension to their music. The song is once again about relationship,except this time it is about a young couple who don’t know how to become adults. They party all the time and he becomes abusive and she cheats. I really like the repeating lines “The party never stops and the pressure starts.”
Holly the Hustle- This song tells a fantastic story about a girl who grew up with an abusive father and how that affected her as an adult. The trumpet and guitar add to the feeling of this being a story someone tells their grandkids. So far this is my favorite song from this album.
That Old Haunted Place- The first guitar riff immediately give off a Western vibe which I doubt will remain, but I noticed it. Okay, the song does keep the Western guitar just a little bit. The song doesn’t get to a full swell but in the chorus it gets as loud as I think this band can get. Is that shade? Probably. But anyway, the lyrics are great because they show what it is like for someone to become famous and have all of these people from their past come forward to try to claim some of their success. I enjoyed this song.
He Don’t Burn for Me- This song is sad which is evident by the drawn out trumpet and drums. The lyrics are about a woman who notices that her man isn’t in love with her anymore. The vocals match the message of the song in that I can feel a sense of sadness within Amy’s voice. For this song it is good, but because that has been the case for the whole album I can’t be too impressed.
Waiting on the Blue- This song has a similar format as Roll Back my Life. The instrumentals are minimal along with the lyrics. The main difference between the two songs is that I have no clue what the lyrics to this song are supposed to mean. They appear to be deep and meaningful I just can’t figure it out.
Overall, I think that this album was fairly consistent in its messaging. The themes, instrumentals, and vocals were similar throughout every song. I honestly don’t know how to feel about that. While I did want a more upbeat song, it probably would have felt out of place with the rest of the songs. I liked their sound as a whole. It isn’t something that I would go out of my way to listen to, but I can appreciate it for what it is. I give this album a
Here it is, another genre I don’t listen to. Although I grew up with country music, when I started developing my own musical taste, I left country behind. It isn’t a complete shock that I haven’t heard of this guy, but maybe he will make me miss country, who knows.
No Stone Unturned-First thing I noticed is that he has a cool voice. For me, I always think male country singers sound the same, but he has a different voice. The groove is nice, basic, but nice. I expected more from the chorus but it isn’t anything memorable. The last line in the chorus “No stone unturned, no turn unstoned” seems to be pretending to be deep. It sounds meaningful, but it has nothing mind-blowing about it. This being the single from this album, I was hoping for more.
Our Hearts- The pacing of this song is confusing, while the music is about mid-tempo, Randy slows down his words in a way that doesn’t make too much sense. Lucie Silva sounds lovely, but she isn’t showcased at all. This is a cute love song, but she seems like a second thought. This song isn’t amazing, but it is competent.
What Whiskey Does- First thoughts: Toby Keith vibe. This song is about an alcoholic thinking of reasons to drink more. The rhythm is slow and relaxed, which lets Randy show off his voice. Once again, he brought in a female singer, Hillary Lindsey, who sounds nice, but is only an echo to Randy. The chorus is nice, easy to sing along to, but it’s the bridge that brings the song together, it is reflective and punchy. This man coming to the realization that his actions will have consequences. At the end though, he seems not to care, which isn’t how I would have ended it, but it works.
Whole Lotta Quit- The harmonica in the beginning sets the tone entirely. In this song, Randy has a bit of a country Elvis in his voice that I hadn’t heard before which is possibly due to the faster pace of the song. He sounds really nice here. There’s a lot of marijuana references, which is not something that I remember being in country music at all. I don’t mind it because I don’t think the substance is an issue, but I thought that was taboo in the country scene. It’s about his experience wanting to smoke all day and the repercussions of doing so, but not caring which is a theme I’ve noticed. The final chorus, he puts his all into his vocals and it shows
No Good Place To Cry- This is really toned down, a subtle guitar with an R&B vibe to it. The focus is on his voice which is a good thing since his is good. Although it is slow, which is not something I normally like, the content is great. The lyrics are important because it shows that men showing emotions is normal and fine, even if society hasn’t adapted to that truth yet.
New Buzz- Another song about getting high, at least this time he sounds the part. His voice is monotone, for the first verse, but it picks up as the song goes on. It is about his new drug being this girl, which is where his voice picks up. I found that to be interesting because it shows that he thought carefully about his storytelling.
Nothin On You- This song sounds like every country stereotype put into one song, which I hope is on purpose. Randy just listing off typical country tropes sounds self-aware but who knows. There isn’t much to say about this song because it is like so many songs that I have heard before.
What Leaving Looks Like- This song is about this guy’s girl cheating on him. This could have been an average cheating song but there are clues that he has cheated in past relationships as well which makes this more interesting. He puts all the blame on the girl even though he has done the same this which is weird. This song is partially self-aware. There could have been more done with the idea that he is a s guilty as here but it isn’t explored much at all.
High Time- The guitar with the tambourine and harmonica sound awesome at the beginning. Something I admire is how obvious he is about his love for a good joint. I respect it. The groove is nice, what makes this good is the use of the tambourine, it adds a bit of personality to the song. When Randy goes for those long notes with his growl coming through it shows that he is a talented singer. Most country guys stick to their low sound because it works, but he isn’t afraid to go for it, which I appreciate.
Mamma Don’t Know- The beginning reminds me of Gary Clark Jr. it is very much his vibe. Houser either has a lot of great influences or I know to much music and constantly have to connect them. This song is about the things that a mom thinks about her daughter that are actually wrong. She has a rebellious child who is wilder than she thought. The instrumentals are very rock and roll but Houser’s voice turns it into a great southern rock song.
Running Man- Immediately, through the instrumentals, I’m getting church. I’m not sure what this song is about, he keeps referencing a running man which makes me think he is possibly a traveler who doesn’t have a place. But his referencing a van made me think of a kidnapping, which more than likely isn’t what was intending but I have a strange mind. It is a nice song, but I wish I knew what it was about.
Evangeline- This is the last song on the album so I’m hoping it is worthy of ending it. I think with last songs on albums they either need to be really emotional or vocally impactful. This song is about wanting to leave with a girl, but it feels kind of stale. The vocals are basic, he isn’t doing anything special or that I particularly enjoyed in other songs on this album. The instrumentals also isn’t anything new. They feel like an afterthought.
Overall, I thought this album, being a genre I don’t like, was okay. There were some songs that showed a side to country that I hadn’t heard before, but he kept reverting to habits that I don’t like in the genre. He has a good voice I just wish he had showcased different aspects to it more. I give this album a