Having shared stages with the old school (Lynyrd Skynyrd) and the “new” (Korn) Southern rockers Texas Hippie Coalition (THC) have garnered a crossover appeal without even trying. By staying true to themselves, this Denison quintet have created a sound that’ll appeal to anyone who likes hard-ass, ballsy rock n’ roll. Imagine the swing of Corrosion Of Conformity married to the punch of Sabbath, then factor in the cowboy swagger of Black Label Society and you’d have something approaching the appeal of THC. With typical Southern hospitality, album number seven, Hell Hounds, finds them welcoming home old fans whilst laying a place at their table for the new.
While fads in music come and go (and with increasing rapidity) there’s a reason why hard rock has remained impervious to the wear of time; quite simply, it is the mutt’s nuts. When played well it’s like a vitamin shot that’ll perk you up, and that’s just the aesthetic Hell Hounds delivers. There’s no time to waste of fancy introductions or other such nonsense, there’s just the wrecking ball swing of opening track ‘Hell Hounds’. It’s the equivalent of a donkey punch and it’ll have you feeling dazed and confused (but in the best possible way). The twin guitar attack of Cord Pool and Nevada Romo make for an interesting tag team and alternate between chugging riffs and gnarly solos, the effect is dizzying and only adds to the listener’s disorientation.
Throughout the band’s history (they formed Texoma in 2008) lead singer Big Dad Ritch has been their sole member, and he cuts an impressive figure. Like a grizzly bear drunk on honey, his vocals are warm and treacly (like new engine oil, or an oak-aged whiskey) and they breathe life into cuts such as ‘Scream’, a song that’s sure to go down a storm live, and you can almost see a thousand voices singing along. Texas Hippie Coalition are one of those bands who have absorbed their surroundings, and it seeps through every note of Hell Hounds. THC have created the soundtrack to a boozy evening in a biker bar as fists fly and ‘Saturday Night Special’ blasts from the jukebox.
While it’s true that Texas Hippie Coalition aren’t reinventing the wheel, there’s enough variety on here to suggest the band are still growing artistically. But, THC give their fans exactly what they want, and you have to admire them for that. ‘Hard Habit’ is the closest the band will come to a ballad, and even at a slower pace it still packs a hefty punch, but Hell Hounds is stitched together by that irresistible swing: no matter in what gear THC operate, there’s an inherent groove present that makes for an addictive listen, and this makes them the equivalent of a nineteenth-century outlaw gang, and instead of firing bullets, their weapon is music.
Hell Hounds is an album that’s sure to please the band’s legions of fans, and gain them many more in the Americas, Europe and beyond.
- Hell Hounds
- I Come From The Dirt
- Built For The Road
- Hard Habit
- Licence To Kill
- Keep My Name Out Of Your Mouth
- I Teach Angels How To Fly
- The Name Lives On