Rail Yard Hymns by Burnside & Hooker

11 November 2018

The sensational debut album of indie acoustic band Burnside & Hooker has arrived! A play on the names of two Confederate Civil War generals – Ambrose Burnside and Joseph Hooker – their “Rail Yard Hymns” marches on like an army. And pumped with country flavor, modern sound, and outright fun, it’s a hotspot for musical fun and fiesta.

Even better, the band sounds great. Lead singer Rachel Bonacquisti dazzles every song with a crowning, magnificent voice. But each song is defined by more than the swinging lyrics. Fantastically acoustic and tangible, each song opens up in a new light with ever-dashing instrumentals. Time to lay down your synth-zapping headphones, bud. Actual guitar, viola, drums, cello, and bass shake up the squeeze-line boundaries of what makes country music American, even edging into jazzier realms on occasion. Everything’s so loose and raw (and cough, cough, unedited) that you’re bound to sigh in relief before you run up to cheer on the show.

An excitable mix of 10 songs rubs off authentically and sweetly Americana, not to mention that each has an unforgettable story. Opening credits “Seasick Woman” and “Ophelia” establish volatile, sizzling soundscapes filled with equal parts howl and haunt. “Red Betty” is like a classic jaunt into a playful downtown nightclub. “Strangers” has the ability to make you feel reminiscent euphoria; it’s exciting, bittersweet, and empowering. “Scars” is ultraviolet energy, lights twinkling then cat-eye fierce. “Taps” is like a gentle indie anthem, and “Logan Square” marks the end of a thrilling evolution of sound, the jolly ukulele taking care to promise (thank goodness) a return.

It’s final; this album’s lessons, love, and lust offer real hymns to live by.

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