Album reviews: Old Crow Medicine Show, Ships Have Sailed, Cosmic Punch

Album reviews: Old Crow Medicine Show, Ships Have Sailed, Cosmic Punch

Old Crow Medicine Show

Remedy/ATO Records

Remedy is the latest proof that Old Crow Medicine show is incapable of doing anything poorly. Whether it’s a raucous, hoedown-style piece of country like “8 Dogs, 8 Banjos,” or whether it’s the old time bluegrass feel and R-rated sensibility of a track like “Brushy Mountain Conjugal Trailer,” you cannot help but smile at the tunes these guys are churning out. And when they want to remind you that they are more than a good time band, they whip out a gorgeous piece of Americana like “Sweet Amarillo” and impress you with tight, harmonious vocals. “Mean Enough World” takes the cake with its toe-tapping bluegrass beat and lyrics that absolutely—and hilariously—mock the people who complain and protest about silly things (read: First World problems). The band’s knack for winning melodies and all-around quality songwriting is a high kick to its stature on the Americana rock landscape, and this is a fine addition to its discography.

Ships Have Sailed

Someday EP/Self-released

What do you do when your creative impulses aren’t meshing with your current band? If you are singer-songwriter-guitarist Will Carpenter, then you start a side project and run with it. The first EP from the guitarist for hip-hop rockers 7Lions is full of engaging material with soaring choruses and a sound that embraces everything from acoustic folk (“Clouds”) to rock (“Better Off”) and a number of sensibilities in between. Someday shows off Carpenter’s knack for stirring up thought-provoking, yet highly enjoyable material (the pop rock title track is a perfect example), and it’s all done with a vocal lightness that is easy on the ears. Someday is a nice entry into the classic pantheon of living life to the fullest, and bodes well for Mr. Carpenter’s future projects.

Cosmic Punch

FM Stereo/Tate Music Group

What happens when you combine classic pop, classic rock, and modern alternative flourishes? You get Cosmic Punch’s new album FM Stereo, and you enjoy it. The band gloriously show its hand for all to see within the first few rocking songs, while giving the bird to anyone who doesn’t like it. “One Man Pop Band” has the sensibility of The Beatles, paired up with some guitar solos that pay tribute to Queen’s Brian May—making for an interesting combination. The thick drumming and Juan “Punchy” Gonzalez’s vocals on “She Makes Me Feel” take you on a jaunty retro ride, and “How Do I” is pure punk pushed through a present day heavy metal filter. Then, to top it all off, CP goes soft rock with the delightful “She’s a Girl,” just to prove it can go in many different directions.