October 7, 2010

CD Review: The Townies lay down a solid rock texture in debut release

By AIMSEL PONTI

The Townies came to be in 2008 when singer/percussionist David Shorey, rhythm guitarist Jeff Bacon and lead and rhythm guitarist Jim McAllister, all former members of Between Dreams, reconvened and invited bassist Scott Denham and drummer Gordon Smith to the party as well.

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HOW IT RATES

THE TOWNIES: "One for the Ditch"

LABEL: Smashing Records

***1/2

 

Based on a 5-star scale

 

Guitarist Doug Cowan, another Between Dreams member (not to mention a Bullyclub vet) also joined the band, and most recently bassist Sean W. Hennessy came on board.

The Townies have just released their debut CD, "One for the Ditch," and you can find it on iTunes and CDBaby, and at Bull Moose Music.

"Superblonde" starts the album off on a high-energy rock note, and I found myself immediately drawn to Shorey's voice. It's got that emotive quality reminiscent of Dave Herlihy of O Positive. Speaking of which, "One for the Ditch" was produced by three different guys named Dave, including Dave Martin and Dave Ingham, both guitarist/keyboard players for O Positive.

The alternative rock sound continues with the oddly named "Pour Hubcap" followed by the garage-y "Irish Eyes." The record slows down with "Twisted." McAllister's guitar sounds superb, as do Shorey's lyrics:

"You've been cautious with your lies and your twisted life/ So get up and ask me for a light/ So sit down, 'cause I've had enough."

"Glide" keeps with the slower mid-album tempo, and Smith's drums really stand out. "Bored" speeds things back up, and it is three very catchy minutes, with Jose Ayerve of Spouse and Martin adding backing vocals.

"Rescue Dog" might be my favorite. Shorey's vocals are commanding and intense without being overpowering. "I'm broke down in a breakdown lane, seems so simple," sings Shorey.

"Windshield" is a very close second for favorite track. There's a lot going on with McAllister's lead guitar, Bacon's rhythm guitar and Denham's bass, while Smith keeps a steady beat. About two-thirds of the way through the song, the instruments all take a back seat to Shorey's vocals before kicking back in.

A cover of The Vaselines' "Molly's Lips" closes out "One for the Ditch" in the same way that "Superblonde" started it -- with the whir of electric guitar and a solid rock texture.

Hang with The Townies online at www.thetownies.net and www.myspace.com/thetownies.

You can also help them celebrate "One for the Ditch" at the CD-release party happening Friday night at the Bayside Bowl, 58 Alder St., Portland. It's an all-ages show at 8 p.m. with The Lomax opening. The cover is $5, and all proceeds go to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.

Aimsel Ponti is a Portland freelance writer. Contact her at: aimselponti@yahoo.com

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