November 12, 2014 Texas Hippie Coalition – Ride On (Album Review)
Those expecting an album of spaced-out love anthems played by dreamy, flower-wearing 1970’s throwbacks will be in for a surprise popping Texas Hippie Coalition into their players. This band is all about good times and heavy, bar Blues, dirty riff Rock-n-Roll. They are party animals consisting of Big Dad Ritch (vocals); John Exall (Bass); Cord Pool (Guitar) and Timmy Braun (Drums) bringing the revelry with their gritty, sing-a-long, fourth album titled Ride On via Carved Records. Released a few months after their successful stint on Rockstar Energy Drink Mayhem Festival, the album features production by Skidd Mills (Skillet, Saving Abel) and adds new meaning to their mix of Outlaw Country, Southern Rock, and Texas Power.
The initial track “El Diablo Rojo” refers to a nickname given to Big Dad Ritch on their visits to El Paso, or as they call it ‘Hell Paso.’ Red Devil seems appropriate for this wickedly good number which has an urgent groove. The vocal style is such that the words seem spat out rather than sang; as the pounding drum beats and a filthy guitar make it sleazy and catchy. “Splinter” is a venomous, Southern Rock outburst, though it suffers from miss-heard lyrics (I Sprinter), which is quite distracting. The big hooks of “Monster in Me” make a romp through pornography a real treat. Its obscene guitar riffs would turn the innocent into sinners just through listening to them, while countrified “Go Pro” breaks into a raucous guitar fest with a rush of pleasure. The track “Rock Ain’t Dead” is a tongue-in-cheek response to Marilyn Manson’s claims and the way radio keeps portraying the scene; it is a glorious celebration of how Rock will live forever and a truer representation of the genre. Meanwhile, “Bottom of the Bottle” is one of four collaborations with Bob Marlette (Pink Floyd, Rob Zombie) and it chugs along with a fierce chorus standing out from a slower rhythm, where as“Rubbins Racin’” is running at full speed in fine Southern style. The title track comes from a saying of Big Ritch’s father, and a good mantra for life, when life gives someone a bad road and that is to “Ride On.” Then the explosive “Fire In the Hole” is a declaration that Texas Hippie Coalition are on their way to world domination, so watch out. Lastly the album concludes with “I Am the End” which is a break-up song with the difference being they certainly are not lamenting over a lost love.
Ride On is an album which came together very fast, with apparently three to four songs being written in a day, and when something comes together that fast, it is evident it is more about the feel than the thought. Ride On is certainly an album with a great feel and rawness that is instantly appealing; it is not full of darker, deeper mysteries, but it has heart on the sleeve. It contains a “what you see is what you get” attitude that is refreshing and gratifying. Time to open a bottle of whiskey and light the barbeque, Texas style. CrypticRock give this album 4.5 out of 5 stars.