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Review of "Songs from Northwest Highway"

August 7, 2019

 

Brian Peterson, author of Burning Fight: The Nineties Hardcore Revolution In Ethics, Politics, Spirit, And Sound, took time out from working on his new book about Beach Boy Dennis Wilson to listen to Songs from Northwest Highway and write a review.

 

Although the band’s name might imply endless weeks of soul crushing overtime, Company Man takes that misconception and flips it backwards on its Songs from Northwest Highway EP.  These rockers have clocked out from their day jobs and “gone fishin’” in all of the great American music territories, wearing their influences proudly on their collective sleeve.  We hear Springsteen and Mellencamp flavored rock, Husker-Du/Replacements melodic punk, Highwaymen-esque country, but Company Man’s sonic gumbo never comes off derivative.  Instead, the sharp, melodic dual guitar interplay, tight rhythm section, and sincerely delivered vocals yanks listeners right off their barstools up to the front row.  “Wouldn’t Die Young” kicks things off with a lively, Creedence-worthy, mid-tempo pace that reverberates through the whole record:  head-nodding riffs and tasteful bluesy-embellishments, marshaled by the dialed in drums and low end.   “Are You Ready for the Breakdown” kicks in with a grittier, slightly melancholy, blues-meets-Lou Reed vibe.  “Tattered Hearts” is the band at its most “country,” yet never abandoning its rock roots.  These five tracks are pure fun and blow by like a late summer motorcycle ride.  It makes one wonder where the group will head next. In the end, the EP conjures the legendary Easy Rider movie poster quote, albeit slightly edited:  A band went looking for America and found it everywhere…

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August 7, 2019

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