Artist: Harvest Thieves
Label: Holy Mountain Sounds
Release Date: 01/08/2016
Started as a side-project by Cory Reinisch and Dustin Meyer, members of the Austin-based alt-country group Guns of Navarone, Harvest Thieves has earned its place as a full-time band with its debut album.
Opening track, “Bob Dylan’s 78th Hangover,” shows Reinsich (vocals, guitar) and Meyer (vocals, bass), along with fellow Thieves Annah Fisette (vocals, mandolin, keys), Coby Tate (guitar) and Wes Cargal (drums), have done their homework. Beginning with some melodic acoustic guitar strumming, reminiscent of Zimmy’s own “Bob Dylan’s 115th Dream,” the song soon erupts into a rootsy rave-up, complete with backing harmonies and an electric solo. Just like Dylan’s original was included on a record that marked a point of departure from folk to rock, this introductory salvo marks a launch point for listeners about to embark on an album-length journey, filled with barroom swagger and swirling balladry.
“I Killed Laura Palmer” shows Harvest Thieves at the band’s most atmospheric. Named after the fictional character from the ’90s television series Twin Peaks, the song unfolds slowly, from a finger-picked mandolin intro to an expansive electric guitar outro. The instrumental ending even takes up almost half of the number’s running time, stealing the spotlight from the lyrics that precede it. But if each note was worth a thousand words, the story told by the music alone might fill a book or two.
While the remaining cuts on Rival shift from Americana to straight-up country and to rock, uniform construction leaves many numbers just short of a complete payoff. Letting loose and leaving the four-minute mark in the rearview mirror could yield some potential future epics from a band with ample skills, and a voice strong enough to stand on its own.
– Michael Cimaomo