“Never been wrong/Never been right,” Imaginary War lead singer Tom Dunphy cries at the outset of their latest EP, The Angel’s Share. “Still I’m running/Still I’m running for my life.” Reinvention is a common theme in music. As a band transitions from one album to the next, it is inevitable that parts of their sound will change. For the Asbury Park four-piece’s latest effort, the band sought out a harder, more Rock N’ Roll sound as opposed to the Folk and Alt-Country twangs of its past. The band’s Springsteen-Americana influences have remained, but the distortion knob has been turned up substantially.
The Angel’s Share announces its presence with force, finding guitarist Levon Syers plucking out an opening riff that could trace its lineage to Angus Young; the rest of the band soon joins in to set the table for Dunphy’s soaring vocals, which are a treat in their own right. Dunphy and Syers are a formidable one-two punch throughout the record: Dunphy provides lyrical, imaginative storytelling while Syers lays down a skillful solo, as drummer Brian Sawyer and bassist Joe LaCarrubba round out the foursome’s heavy rhythms.
The teamwork is especially evident on tracks like “Asbury Park,” a detailed account of the group’s love/hate relationship with their home city and its hipster denizens that recalls Mr. Springsteen’s bemoaning of a tpown that “rips the bones from your back.”
MUST HEAR TRACK “The Spirit of ‘76” is feel good blues-stomper and a sing-along siren song to an angry youth and all of its wares.
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