Album Reviews

Quaker City Night Hawks

El Astronauta

Artist:     Quaker City Night Hawks

Album:     El Astronauta

Label:     Lightning Rod

Release Date:     05/20/2016


Fort Worth, Texas rockers Quaker City Night Hawks have a solid sense of their musical roots. While the spirit of ’70s blues-rock icons ZZ-Top, Johnny Winter and Rick Derringer looms large on El Astronauta, the band never resorts to slavish imitation. Top-notch musical chemistry and socially conscious lyrics blend together to create a simmering, hypnotic brand of southern rock that will appeal to 21st-Century listeners.

“Good Evening” quickly establishes the band’s Lone Star State credentials. “Good evening/from Fort Worth Texas/It’s slow here/ In the heat,” sing guitarists Sam Anderson and Dave Matsler. A simple, bluesy riff from Anderson anchors the band, while Mastler’s simmering leads add to the tune’s swampy atmosphere. On hard-rocking tracks like “Mockingbird” and “Medicine Man,” Anderson’s crunching guitar riffs and Sam Anderson’s deft keyboard fills go together like ribs and hot sauce. Driving bass and keyboards, along with a lyrical guitar solo from Mastler, bring a touch of late ’70s Pink Floyd to “The Last Great Audit.” An upbeat, major key arrangement and a catchy chorus make “Beat the Machine” one of the band’s most airplay-ready tunes.

Quaker City Night Hawks don’t hit listeners over the head with instrumental pyrotechnics. The way to enjoy this band is to sit back and let the hypnotic riffs and dexterous ensemble playing seep into your brain. Hopefully, El Astronauta will give Quaker City Night Hawks the chance to bring their unique, southern-fried sound to a wider audience.

– Jon Kleinman

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