Barrel House put the swagger back into blues ‘n’ roots with their new disc Species Vagabond. Think the funk of Ash Grunwald and the dirty blues of The Black Keys mixed with scent of dank pubs, beer and rock ‘n’ roll and you get what Barrel House is about. Get On Board has a sleek Ben Harper feel to it with funky slide guitar riffs and vibe that encourages dancing and grooving. That’s the one thing about this record that sits throughout all the tracks. It’s that funky groove that makes you want to dance. I can almost picture this band playing in some dusty bar in the middle of nowhere in the American desert on a rowdy Friday night and the track Stop Me has that feel stamped all over it.
Musically, the slide guitar playing is spot on. Loose enough to allow that freedom of the blues to come through but still precise to not come off sloppy. The rest of the band keep the groove rolling and bring it home with a bourbon cool. Prospector changes direction a bit with a bluesy riff and Hammond organ breakdown that makes the piece come across like a 70’s TV theme song. Yet, it sits perfectly surrounded by the rest of the album with its more grit and punch.
Barrel House have a great, fun sound that oozes alcohol soaked cool. These are songs by musicians who love to spend their time playing music and what we get here on this album is 11 short snapshots of what I can imagine being a longer jam that continues on late into the night. It’s a party you’ll want to be at.