The Lonesome Southern Comfort Company: The Big Hunt (On The Camper Records)
Some authentic Swiss Americana arrives from The Lonesome Southern Comfort Company and it’s all good says Ian Critchley.
This record has been sitting on my desk for a couple of months now. I’d spend evenings staring at the incredible cover art, wanting to tear away the film and hear what was trapped inside. But I stopped myself, my willpower was strong enough that I didn’t break my personal vow to write about my first impressions of a record rather than how I felt after I’d let it grow on me.
But The Big Hunt doesn’t have to grow on you. It grabs you by the giblets from the get go and by the time the break down during opener When He’s Down had begun I was already hooked. What The Lonesome Southern Comfort Company (who have a ridiculously long name) have done is taken the age old country rock format and turned it completely on its head (in a way that works and not like that god awful Avicii have done with folk), adding a plethora of additional instrumentation and processes, including trippy synths, heavy reverb, and distorted guitar parts.
That’s not to say that The Lonesome Southern Comfort Company have strayed all that far from the beaten track of alt-country. This is very much a record with its roots in the Appalachian Mountains of North America circa 1930, just the band have pushed that ideology one step further. Much in the way that Mark ‘Eels’ Everett merged pop sensibilities with a traditional folk sound, or Lucero took country into the punk rock realms, or Beck did what ever the hell he wanted whilst high on acid, the band have not simply toed the line of their predecessors, but made the genre their very own play thing, splicing country with elements of traditional folk and rock.
In a more modern, mainstream, light the band could easily be compared with the likes of folk superstars Mumford And Sons, and I’m sure fans of that band would find this four piece a delightful follow up to the sounds of Mumford, but to dismiss The Lonesome Southern Comfort Company as another mainstream folk wannabe band poking out the woodwork to cash in on a current fad would be to wholly dismiss the point of their music. This is the genuine article, and its authenticity can be heard within every down beat twang emanating from the vocal box of singer, John (no surname given). In a world filled with people who seem to use music as a badge of honour, rather than a life long calling, it is wholly refreshing to hear some honesty within the country/folk scene.
All words by Ian Critchley. More writing by Ian on Louder Than War can be found at his author’s archive.