Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Extra-Medium Sized Review: The Throttles

How do I write an objective review of a band I personally know?  Easy, I'm extra critical.  I literally put this CD in my player and thought to myself, "I've heard all of their stuff before, there's no way I can be impressed."  I was wrong.  

Now let's clarify a couple things before we get into it.  The Throttles haven't been around for that long, but I've known the individual members through other bands they have been in.  Both Greg Burgess (guitar/lead vocals) and Jack Hanlon (stand up bass/vocals) were in The Amazing (Royal) Crowns together.  Matt McLaren (drums) has played with Jack in numerous bands throughout the years.  All three fit extremely well together, unlike OJ's gloves.

This familiarity really comes across in their playing.  The recording is very tight, all three members are pulling their weight.  There are no weak links here instrumentally.  If there is a weakness, it would be the vocals.  Greg Burgess is a fantastic guitarist.  He plays original leads, with interesting solos, but doesn't over play.  He does plenty to make each song exciting, but doesn't step on any one's toes.  That being said, I'm sure he'd be the first person to admit he's not a lead vocalist in the traditional sense.  Somehow it all works.  I try to imagine other people singing and it wouldn't work.  The rhythm section is rock solid, but they aren't just holding the back-beat so Burgess can solo, they bring plenty of accents, runs and fills to each song.  I believe Hanlon and McLaren have been playing together in some form for about 25 years.  You don't have to know music to hear it.

Now onto the big question; What do they sound like?  You can't pin them down to one sound and that's what makes them so much fun.  You really don't know what's coming next.  You get some revved up rock songs like, "All Gone Bad," "You're My Little Honey Bee" and "Cut Loose and Go."  Then you get an almost sea shanty, sing along in "Sailing Off," some Spanish/Latin influenced songs, that are very danceable in, "La Bella Carmelita" and "I Don't Wanna Die."  A couple really exciting instrumentals, where the band really shows off their chops.  But wait, there's more...Their version of a love song, a nice early 60's style song, with a great sounding organ, and a country ditty.  Whew!  That's a lot of music.  There's really something here for every one's taste and mood.  

In closing, if you like good original music, this is for you.  It's a little bit country, a lotta bit rock n roll, with surprises throughout.  It's what a really good record should be.  Memorable.

Check out The Throttles here.
Purchase the album here and here...you know you want to.

I have had some great responses for CD Reviews/Interview requests.  Keep them coming, if I can help you or your band out with exposure and publicity for your music, I absolutely will.  Contact me.

1 comment:

  1. I listened to The Throttles songs on MySpace, and agree that Greg is a really good guitarist. His leads are interesting; they don't always go where you think they're going to go, but they end up in a good place! I thought the first two songs were perfectly fine but nothing special, but I really liked "Sailing Off"; I'm something of a closet folkie, and that song really hooked me...