Current Date: Wed, 12 Mar 2014 01:04:14 -0400
The phrase “puritan rodeo” is a paradox if there ever was one. “Puritan” evokes a picture of someone straight-laced and uptight, while “rodeo” brings to mind a raucous good time.
Though local outfit Puritan Rodeo’s music falls more under the “rodeo” description, the dozen tracks on its self-titled release blend components of Americana, rock and country to form upbeat and dance-y tunes fit for a honky tonk.
The album is reminiscent of an alternate-universe Squirrel Nut Zippers record, had the fellow Chapel Hillians taken a turn toward country instead of jazz. It has a pleasant twang to it throughout, and the roughness around the edges adds to its charm.
A banjo merrily jangles along with intermittent fiddle and mandolin across the rest of album. The rhythms on this record are simple but powerful, hitting hard and fast.
Most of the tracks stay pretty short, lingering long enough to sound like a complete thought but not so long that they lose your interest.
Shared male and female vocals add to the complexity and help keep the album from settling too far into any one tone.
The record does have its relaxed moments, most notably on “Wedding Day,” which has a slow, mournful swing.
The slow tracks come as a relief, serving as chances to take a break between songs that will otherwise have you kicking off your shoes to dance.
While the album is good in its own right, it definitely sounds as though it would shine in a live setting. Puritan Rodeo has an audible, if not restrained, energy on its latest self-titled release, an unselfconsciousness that dares you not to cut loose.