THE .357s Hours After Dawn Hello Records
On their debut E.P., Real Tough World, the .357s cranked out untamed tunes in grand punk style. But their sophomore release, Hours After Dawn, finds them taking a slightly different route, basking in bluesy self-examination and back-to-basics rock n' roll. The result is an album that's a slap in the face to those of questionable rock endurance.
With classic six-string attacks poured through vintage amps, the .357s really scorch from song to song. They can still play fast and furious when they need to. But these new tunes are far more crafted than those on the previous effort, adding glimpses of organ and multiple effects for a fuller sound.
Quite obviously, much of the new style is owed to the Replacements and the Rolling Stones, with plenty of Chuck Berry thrown in for good measure. The verses of "Elegance, Splendor" are very reminiscent of Cheap Trick's "Surrender" while the verses of "Listen to Everything" sound a bit like Elvis Costello's "(What's So Funny 'Bout) Peace, Love and Understanding."
With a serious roadhouse ethic, these nine songs come drenched in Jason Burchett's raspy vocals. However, the production sometimes sounds a bit dense and Burchett's vocals get lost in the mix. But alongside the guitar crushes and driving, classic rock melodies, the songs on Hours After Dawn offer a fun ride and a swift kick in the ass to the complacent "rockers" who've forgotten what rockin' really is. -Chris Webb