Year Of The Dragon

Brent Amaker And The Rodeo

Fin Records, 2013

REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Here's something you don't see often in the ultra hip, beyond edgy city of Seattle – a full fledged country and Western band who all adorn Stetson hats and cowboy boots. Though they might appear to be a humorous entity plucked straight out of a Spaghetti Western, Amaker and company are no joke, and their shuffled rhythms and dusty melodies just might leave you wondering where to park your horse at the saloon.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I guess it's not entirely fair to say Year Of The Dragon is a completely country affair. While Amaker's baritone voice often resembles a young Johnny Cash and rarely changes range or breaks character, if you pay close enough attention, there's a lot more lurking amid the tumbleweed and desert anthems. With the random synth solo and overall performance art meets post-punk meets surf rock mix, the subtle differences from track to track certainly make up for Amaker's consistent vocal delivery.

There's a good balance between serious and ironically clever here. And it's quite possible they're faking all seriousness, but they do a great job of it. “One Idea” blends both ideas and is a post-punk meets country tune you could dance to. “Death Is Always Near” is quintessential Amaker work, an arid, soulful, and gritty tune. “Tequila Cerveza” is as adventurous as the title suggests, a late-night drinking anthem. Two genre defying moments are “Footsteps Lead The Way,” which is a quick Western with flashes of almost classical sounding strings, and “I Put My Boots On,” a New Wave flavoring with soft backing vocals.

If Quentin Tarantino ever remakes Three Amigos, Amaker and his band would be the ideal soundtrack. Sure, not everyone is really going to get this, and some will even write it off as a novelty act. But novelty acts rarely can pen an entire album worth of quality material, much less several albums worth.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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