Bloody Hollies: Yours Until the Bitter End
You would think that given that cool band name and the fact that ‘Yours Until the Bitter End’ is the fifth album from the Buffalo, New Yorkers, who have been around since 2000, that they would have reached these ears before now but this, their first album in four years, is my introduction to the band.
It is some introduction too. A roller coaster mix of garage, punk, blues and rock this band kicks up a real storm over the ten songs here. The band obviously understand that they are doing nothing new, nothing that hasn’t been done many, many times before, but they have that one thing that many other bands lack, which is passion. Wesley Doyle who handles the lead vocals may well have learnt his skills at the Eric Burdon school of blues shouters, but his raging vocals never lose the way. Doyle and his band mates are wise enough to know when to rein in the anger to stop it from becoming just an uncontrolled noise.
That’s the beauty with bands like the Bloody Hollies and albums of the stature of ‘Yours Until the End’. It is obvious that the band know their craft. The guitar playing by Joey Horgen may well be performed at breakneck speed, but he’s no senseless noise freak bashing away aimlessly. Horgen knows his stuff. There are enough subtle (first use of the word in a Bloody Hollies review?) uses of other instruments that show that this is one band who appreciate and understand that to keep things interesting in this genre you have to go just that little bit further.
At just ten songs and 37 minutes it is the ideal length for an album of this kind. The band start off as expected with the riffing ‘So Grey, So Green’, which displays all that is great about the Bloody Hollies, with its dirty, greasy melodies that pound into your brain and won’t leave; bluesy yet weirdly restrained vocals and just a hint of power-pop to keep things in order. They end the album with ‘John Wayne Brown’ which surely must have come as a surprise if not a shock even to those who are familiar with the band’s previous albums.
‘John Wayne Brown’ shows a side to the Bloody Hollies that I would take a guess hasn’t been shown too often before. It is a slow folk / blues track in which Doyle, in talking-blues mode, tells the tale of a preacher whose time on earth is brought to an unexpected and sudden end when one of the preacher’s rattlesnakes bites him to death. It is in direct contrast to the rest of the album, but confirms that the Bloody Hollies are so much more than a one trick pony. With its slide guitar and mandolin the biggest surprise tucked away there at the end of the album leaves you wanting more of the same.
‘Yours Until the Bitter End’ is surely the album that will introduce the Bloody Hollies to a wider audience and deservedly so.