Release Date: February 18, 2014
Run Time: 40:46
2. Anchors Aweigh
3. Coffin & Copper
4. Boilermaker’s Hands
5. Road Less Travelled
6. Broken Town
8. Broken White Lines
9. Drink It Dry
10. Skin Will Burn
11. Signs of Rain
12. One Tree Hill
‘Intro’ opens the album with distorted, loud speaker-esque bagpipes that immediately lead into ‘Anchors Aweigh’, a track which is recorded well; the band gets their guitar and drum tones down pat, making for a rawer yet professional, supportive sound. A fiddle enters, playing the lead melody, and an awesome chord progression backs the melody in an again supportive manner.
The verse was excellent and did not sound cliche; the instrument performance is solid, and the vocal parts in the verses play back and forth between the accents and the down beats, providing listeners with a bit of change. Everything is mixed very close together, meaning there is not much separation in the mix. Gang vocals are present in the choruses, and the track changes vibes near the middle of the track. This was the song’s highlight, showcasing musical diversity and a more haunting, diabolical feel.
After the bridge, we see a return to the main melody before an a cappella part enters, supported only by the kick drum. This section doubles and the rhythm guitar joins on the second go-round, providing a new foundation for the entering vocals. The song is structured well, the vocals are performed well, and really, everything is done well to capture the band in all its glory. ‘Lock Down’ has a very thin, Strat-like introduction and overtly cool first verse, full of interesting chord choices. This overall sound seems unique for the genre; the bass notes contrast nicely with the existing guitar chords in the verses, and the notation and coupling executed by the bass was outstanding.
The pre chorus section was the highlight of this song and seemed to contain elements of 00’s rock and modern rock. The second chorus contained only chords and no lyrics, and quickly jumped back into another verse. This is an awesome song with the potential to be an arena rock anthem with Irish elements. This track does an awesome job showcasing the band’s writing and performance style on a basic level, and the talent and all-around intelligence present is obviously apparent.
‘Broken White Lines’ opens with a jungle beat and odd feel, along with the inclusion of a fiddle. The drums come in “full”, which is mildly ironic because the drums are on the downbeat, emulating an almost behind-the-beat feel. The rhythm guitar sounds awesome, and the bass has great tone and is moving and very full. The song is instrumental through the first minute, the recording raw and in-the-moment in nature.
The feel and positive attitude is certainly right, and the song structure is easily memorable, as are the song’s transitions and supporting elements. The vocals finally do enter at 1:14 around the same time that mass changes begin to occur. A very large chorus, with group vocals in sections of it, follows, as does a cool drum and bass part after 2 minutes in, which in my opinion was the highlight of the track. This high-energy, in-your-face track was very passionate, anthemic, and aggressive and with lots of care and concern to finer details. ‘Drink It Dry’ is dynamically different than the past track, with an easier to follow story line and basic punk beats. Lyrically this track was very personal, intimate, and honest; the vocals were ambitious and there were very good harmony parts.
‘Skin Will Burn’ begins growing dynamically before launching into a huge chorus; at that point, all the instrumentation is in, and big at that. The instrumental tag after the chorus breaks everything down, making for still a cool vibe, just less volume. Everything is still present and builds back to the chorus; an awesome job is done structurally with this track, a song that featured interesting drum parts and drums that are mixed well. The track is reminiscent at points of Green Day, finally with good guitar tone, and lots of big, communicative energy.
‘Signs of Rain’ closes my review with a great drum sound and a pleasant melody. The vocal performances are solid, featuring much better vocal harmonies and quiet, soft, new perspective with everything coming in after 1:20. This happy, optimistic offering was still quieter than the past few tracks, yet was one of the better tracks on the album, showcasing great writing and employing the use of backing vocals especially towards the end of the song in a delicate, memorable manner.
Letters From The Road Less Travelled is a step in the right direction for The Ramshackle Army. Each of the tracks was musically optimistic and I can imagine the band being exciting and full of energy live. Here’s hoping we get a tour in my neck of the woods at some point.