Artist: Hollis Brown
Album: 3 Shots
Release Date: 05/05/2015
When last I encountered Hollis Brown, in 2009, I reviewed their Astoria, Queens garage rock debut with highly-charged delight. Since then, the band has exchanged half its members while founding songwriters/guitarists Mike Montali and Jon Bonilla remain. Their rep has gone well beyond the five boroughs on the strength of the taut and concise Ride The Train (2013) and their bold, rootsy re-imagining of the Velvet Underground’s epochal Loaded (2014)
It’s no secret that, since their inception, Hollis Brown has displayed tuneful, country tinges in their spiky, urban crunch. But the majority of tunes on 3 Shots go way too far into that country direction for me, leaving some of that edge behind. Things do perk up: “Rain Dance,” which incorporates a previously unreleased Bo Diddley rhythm track, brings some spark to the early proceedings. Alt-country songstress Nikki Lane adds fire to the standard heart-on-my-sleeve “Highway One,” and “Wait For Me Virginia” is a melodically pleasing affair. Montali and Bonilla do possess a country flair, but on the whole, I like my country a little crunchier.