Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors are a true-blue Americana act who have gradually formed and evolved together over time. The music they produce has a sound that can only be born from experience and years of touring, honing their skills together. This year saw the release of their latest efforts, Dragons; an insurmountable and irrefutably outstanding album.
Having grown up surrounded by his fathers extensive music collection, Holcomb was infatuated early on with the likes of Bob Dylan and James Taylor. In such an environment it’s little wonder that as he aged and expanded his musical horizons, that it was still this Americana and folk genre that he found himself gravitating towards. Finally, after tour upon tour and gig upon gig he released his debut EP to a wealth of acclaim. That was back in 2003 and the years since then have seen a multitude of albums tours and singles as well as the official formation of Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors, a collective of immensely talented artists in their own right who all combine to elevate the already thunderous and resonant vocals of Holcomb to ever greater heights. The result of this collaboration of sounds has painted a beautiful picture for the rest of the world as Holcomb’s stunning solo intimacy remains within the earnest and passionate music he produces except now it feels as though there is a whole new world behind him to bolster his words.
Songs like Bittersweet pepper Dragons and favours a softer and more experimental notion compared to the rest of the album. The strong Americana vein still runs strong but now there is something new fluttering at the edges, a tentative experimentation of sound that errs on the cusp of indie rock and throws a new hat into the ring. Bittersweet is a particularly tender song with a daring melody that soars and dances, scintillating and also sombre. It closes Dragons leaving an unusual taste in your mouth – the kind of ending where you still can’t decide if it was enough. It’s an almost audible cliff hanger as you find yourself thinking about where the album would have been likely to go next.
Dragons is a sweet and tender album with some Americana rock melodies that kick like a mule. The absolute embodiment of Nashville music, Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors take decades of inimitable music and lay their own stakes to it with a vehement and unbridled passion. The result is an album that could make you laugh, cry or sing at any given moment.
Review by Joe Knipe