Crow Black Chicken: Rumble Shake Review

Crow Black Chicken is a band that values simplicity, from their simple bass-guitar-drums line-up to their live take method of studio recording. This directly affects Crow Black Chicken’s brand of rock, and the sort of raw, gritty sound that the irish trio is known for usually sounds like it has an authenticity about it that justifies their comparisons to contemporaries like Gov’t Mule. To put it simply, these are three guys who embody the premise of rock and roll. Crow Black Chicken has never been shiny, polished, or in any way clean, and their sophomore release Rumble Shake seems to push this even further.  This doesn’t necessarily mean that Crow Black Chicken have outdone themselves this time, however; some of Crow Black Chicken’s quirkiness seems to have been tamed.

While 2012’s Electric Soup often pitted loud against quiet in a desperate attempt to create an ever-changing landscape, Rumble Shake seems as though it’s trying to be a little more consistent. These songs don’t feel quite as restless, and as a result don’t necessarily feel as engaging. “Two-Seven” just falls short of being a memorable Crow Black Chicken song because of its constant texture. “Black Asphalt” almost falls prey to the same trap before slipping into a much-welcomed time change for the last forty seconds.

The good news is that Rumble Shake has much more good than bad. The first track, “Hang ‘em High,” opens with a quirky guitar riff that is unmistakably the signature work of Crow Black Chicken. The acoustic opening of “Priest Hunter” is intentionally misleading, as the song builds into something a little louder at a steady pace – instead of going the cliché route of dropping an explosion of sound at one point, the trio builds the track with a little more subtlety. The record’s closer, the aptly titled “Sit with Satan,” is a deliberate reincarnation of Electric Soup’s final moments with “John the Revelator” as a soft blues track opens up into one of the album’s most raucous. This might count as a negative point toward Rumble Shake if only this trick weren’t so damn good, even if this is the second time Crow Black Chicken have done it.

Crow Black Chicken now has two solid albums under their belts and a lot of touring to come. Rumble Shake is a step toward maturity, even if it’s not a perfect one. Here’s a great summer album – pick it up while we still have some summer left.

The Review: 8/10

Can’t Miss Tracks

– Hang ’em High
– Priest Hunter
– Jessie Mae
– Sit with Satan

The Big Hit

– Priest Hunter

Review by Richard MacDougall

Buy the album: Amazon | iTunes

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