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CD REVIEW:  We Live in Sod Houses - Shark for a Day

by: Cyrus Rhodes

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Artist: We Live in Sod Houses
Album: Shark for a Day

Label: Independent Artist
Website:
http://weliveinsodhouses.bandcamp.com/

BANDCAMP: http://weliveinsodhouses.bandcamp.com/

Genre:  Alternative Rock, Soulful Punk, Indie College Rock

Sounds Like: X, The Weepies, The Pixies, Talking Heads, White Stripes, Sonic Youth, Toadies, Superchunk

Technical Grade: 7/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 7/10
Commercial Value: 7/10
Overall Talent Level: 7/10
Songwriting Skills: 7/10
Performance Skill: 7/10
Best Songs: Shark for a Week, Pretty Face, People, Escape

Weakness: Winded Songs, Short Sided songs, more solo segments

 

CD REVIEW: 

 

Dynamic musical duo “We Live in Sod Houses” based out of Iowa featuring Dustin DeBoer Rachel DeBoer are back with their brand new album “Shark for a Week” released in 2014. Citing feom their bio: Our songs were written in an old farmhouse on a windy hill above the big Sioux River valley. Motivated by love, extreme seasons, and isolation, Rachel & Dustin started "We Live in Sod Houses". We maintain an overall feeling of love & truth w/ a pinch melancholic desperation while changing style and genre. We invite the listeners to experience every joyous, hateful, optimism and despair filled moment with us. Our band is a mix of characters that blend their styles in a manor such as to appeal to a wide audience. We have a high energy stage show that involves the audience and invites them to feel like part of our rock 'n roll family. BTW this album was recorded in an old farmhouse and was Mixed by Larry Crane owner of Jackpot Studio. All contributors to this album include: Dustin DeBoer- Guitar& Vocals, Rachel DeBoer - Vocals and Percussion, Josh Rieck- Bass, Steve Carlson – Drums.

The CD takes flight with “Love them Hate Them” a slamming, rock steady prelude that serves up bluesy rock rhythm against well placed psychedelic Organ, rocked out guitar against soulful vocal work from both Dustin and Rachel. Track 2 “People” gets a bit darker with its methodical musical intro eventually lending itself into an impressive melancholy yet striking statement that flows and ebbs its way through to emotional fruition with impassioned vocals via thought provoking lyrical content. Track 3 the title track keeps things moving in the right direction with its rock steady musical flow, hooky grove against hypnotic chorus, and impressive soulful harmonies via an invigorating/clever message. The CD makes a great first impression dashing out 3 solid tracks in a row. I would classify this music as classic Rock/Blues popular in the 70-90’s. I can also hear element of Soulful-Rock, Blues of Singer/Songwriter, Punk and Indie College Rock of the 80's and 90’s. Along the way you will notice impressive instrumentation with things like impressive solo guitar, rhythm guitar, organ, Keyboard accents, sporadic Percussive accents, and well placed harmonies all built upon a solid rhythm section. Now turning our attention over to Dustin and Rachel as for their vocal abilities, both voice works extremely well within the confines of this rock catalogue. Both have a good look, a catchy mystique and both know how to sit deep within the pocket and sing a song with amazing vocal fluidity, and a lot of soul and sustained power. Dustin’s voice goes down smooth and fills the space peacefully and unobtrusively with an infectious jagged edge. Mostly he reminds me of David Byrne (Talking Heads) and has a uniquely chaotic timbre that is infectious and a bit out of control. He showcases a good rock solid vibrato and showcases unfettered power and finesse. Rachel also sings on several songs and is equally as effective. Together they are pure gold. All the Engineering aspects are in check (Recording, Mixing, Mastering) as the CD possesses solid low end punch and crystal clear high end clarity. By Track 3 the CD hits solid stride dishing out several impressive songs in a row. I especially like the fun “Indie” vibe one gets from the band, almost as if you were watching them play live. The best way I can describe the music of "We Live In Sod Houses" a bit out of control like The Pixies, X, or Talking Heads together in one crazy rock band/sound. The music also reminds me a bit of X, Deep Blue Something, The Weepies, The Pixies, Talking Heads, White Stripes, Sonic Youth, Toadies and Superchunk. Despite this some songs have a somewhat dark and melancholy Afghan Whigs vibe to them. I especially like the amazing vocal harmonies throughout the CD – providing much in the way of musical variety. Kudos goes to the amazing drumming by Steve Carlson - well done! Track 5 the CD hits a good solid stride. I also like hoe Track and 11 blend into each other. From grooving “Dinner” to dynamic “Brothers and Sisters” to rocking “Change” to hypnotic “Pretty Face” and “Baby” to melodic “Old Yarn” to heartfelt :Escape” this CD has something for just about everyone. The CD ends with Track 13 “Snow” the perfect finale statement for a CD like this.  

 

I'm not crazy about the band name. All songs over 4 minutes tend to drag you to the finish line. All songs under 3 minutes tend to feel like incomplete statements to me.  I wish there were more solo guitar segments throughout the CD - primarily guitar solos.

 

From start to finish “Shark for a Week” by We Live In Sod Houses brings the indie-mojo and is a barnburner release from start to finish. Let me go on record by saying these two really do bring the Rock and Soul, but what makes them so special is how they bring their love to the table. The music is grooving, upbeat, soulful and entertaining. The songwriting – a little dangerous, but all consistent musical experiences, each one possessing a unique personality, flair and signature groove. The writing, playing and singing abilities of Dustin and Rachel DeBoer are a rock solid couple musical act. The “artistic couple presence” from Dustin Rachel and De Boer is something many folks should gravitate towards. At the end of the day they are obviously a fun band to listen to of check out in a live setting. .

 

Cyrus Rhodes Rhodes