Untamed Beast

Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside

Partisan Records, 2013


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Garage rock from Portland is historically a very wonderful thing. Sallie Ford & The Sound Outside's 2011 album Dirty Radio reinforced that notion well, and with their follow-up Untamed Beast, they illustrate again they are more than doing their part to uphold the grand tradition of great music from the Northwest. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

This time, they spend more time in indie rock territory with an emphasis on blues rock; Ford and company sure know their way around several genres of rock. “Shivers” and “Roll Around” are the heaviest blues-influenced tunes here, both being on the more subdued side of the album. By contrast, “Devil” and “Rockability” puts their feet firmly in, what else, rockabilly and are quick paced, back porch anthems.

As always, Ford's inimitable voice is a large vocal point. Sassy, snarling, and nearly yelping are par for the course, though she can sing tunefully when she needs to, too. Most likely autobiographical, on “Bad Boys” she warns us of all her hedonistic behavior, and with that establishes herself as a front woman who may look innocent but is likely to tear your head off with one swipe if need be. Deep down, however, Ford's a softy as well; the stripped-back “Paris” is an acoustic love song, while “Roll Around” is a more pensive version of her ferociousness. Amazingly, despite the often wildness prevalent here, much of this album actually surrounds the concept of love.

Instead of relying on vocal harmonies or guitar hooks, Untamed Beast sets its sights on reverb, post-punk undertones, tumbling percussion, and bluesy riffs. Apparently Ford and her band were listening to The Cramps a lot during the recording of Untamed Beast and that certainly shines through in the garage and surf rock ideas as well as the overall punk attitude. Somehow, with all these influences tossed in, this still has a vintage feel that could go back as far as the '50s, and several tracks wouldn't be out of place in the movie Stand By Me as the soundtrack to Ace and his gang's mailbox baseball destruction.

Rating: B+

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