December 28, 2015 Lullwater – Revival (Album Review)
Alternative Rockers Lullwater are not a typical band. With a love for the gritty and raw sound that is conveyed during live shows, the band has remained true from day one on trying to capture that authenticity of tone on their recordings. Hailing from Athens, GA, brothers John (lead vocals/guitar) and Brett Strickland (lead guitar) met Joe Wilson (drums) and Roy “Ray” Beatty (bass), thus creating Lullwater in 2007 after being introduced through friends from the Georgia music scene. Since that time, the musicians have a shared vision of building their fan-base one fan at a time, playing hundreds of shows.
Making a big decision, in December of 2011, the band decided they would leave Georgia and take a journey that would land them in Seattle, WA, the home of Grunge and of their musical idols. This would lead them to their path of discovering their musical vision, trying to bottle the live experience of a Lullwater show on tape. They arrived at London Bridge Studios, the famous room where Soundgarden recorded 1989’s Louder Than Love and Pearl Jam their groundbreaking 1991 debut, Ten. Adamant about using the old school technique of recording live in a room together in order to capture magic and raw sound, their self-titled album, Lullwater, was released on September 17, 2013. Produced by Jonathan Plum, this eye-opening debut mixed the Southern Rock sound with the Grunge Rock that immediately drew attention. Now two years later, the boys are back with their second full-length record as of October 23, 2015, entitling it Revival. Instead,of recording in Seattle, they went to Sonic Ranch, in El Paso, Texas this time around so the band could focus in a more secluded area. Still staying true to the historic recording on tape, Lullwater wanted to embrace some technology by experimenting with Protools for the recording as well.
Revival, starts off with “Everline,” an in-your-face, Punk influenced sounding song, from the first note until the end. John’s voice is strong and confident, backed by rhythm guitar, bass, and drums while the lead guitar plays a key role in the song. Then there is “Holy Water,” which has a very Breeder’s “Cannonball” guitar sound. John has stated, “ Holy Water is the song that pushes the boundaries of what I know, principles I question, and religion, and it comes out in this song…This song is more of a question than a statement.”
For the Punk Rock fan, “Let Me Out” starts with a drum solo, followed by a steady bass, vocals, and guitar section. Reminiscent of Cheap Trick’s “I Want You To Want Me,” it is sure to become a fan-favorite. Led by strong guitar soloing, the magic comes and goes throughout the middle, slowing the piece down. Thereafter, “A Forgotten Name” is one of those songs where the guitar dominates while the drum and bass play under it, but do not go unnoticed. In fact, they hold the tempo like glue as John’s vocals are vulnerable, however it holds a powerful performance. The title track off the album has a ballad like feel throughout most of the song. Here, John’s voice is definitely channeling the gritty sound of Grunge vocals of the past. Speeding up at the midway point, the cut becoming more aggressive and is not to be ignored by the listener.
Showing off a bit of their Country upbringing, “Broken Wings” is a Southern Rock song that brings in some seriously heavy and impressive guitar soloing that shines throughout. The guitar solos remain solid on “Liars and Thieves” along with a drum and bass break down that shows off what a true Rock powerhouse percussion session should sound like. Moving along, “Burning Both Ends” and “American Glutton” are two songs that are both unique, but hold a very traditional Grunge/Punk vibe that will bring listener’s even deeper back to the 1990s. Those who have an affection for bass will adore “Vendetta Black” which duels Beatty’s thick bass with the guitar throughout the song, all while Wilson’s drumming remains intense in the backdrop. Here John’s voice comes across upbeat, even though the topic of the song seems to be based around the love of lost hero’s. Ending the album are “Alive” and “Ruin The Roses,” two songs that are more of a slow pace. First, “Alive” is a pure Rock song with a hint of Grunge, then “Ruin the Roses” is an extremely beautiful ballad. The latter features an interesting outro of spaceship/alien like sounding effects, closing out the journey of Revival.
Lullwater, is a band that has done music the way they have wanted to and not followed what trends dictate. With Revival, they have taken chances to create with traditional recording processing with some technology, and succeeded. Following in the footsteps of their idols Lullwater has channeled on Revival, the sound of the Grunge music that influenced them is prevalent throughout, but they add their own flavor to balance it. All in all, their follow-up record is a worthy listen and one can see the Georgian band is going in the right direction. CrypticRock gives Revival 4 out of 5 stars.