‘Medicine’ - Drew Holcombe & The Neighbours - intensive melodies, tight riffs, lyrically rich(November 26, 2014)
Anyone not heard of Drew Holcombe this side of the pond? Well if you haven’t you’re going to, simple as that. The man describes himself as: “a Tennessee-born, duck hunting, bourbon drinking, 1st edition book collecting, golf playing Eagle Scout with a Master’s degree in Divinity from Scotland’s University of St Andrews, who has spent the better part of the past decade as a professional musician.”
He also happens to be a singer-songwriter that delivers a sharp brand of rock-infused, meditative Americana that would give anyone a run for their money. I first heard Drew years ago through his album ‘Washed In Blue’ and thought there was a ‘something’ worth re-visiting, between there and his last album ‘Good Light’, there’s been a marked progression with songwriting getting better all the time. The purity and distinctiveness of his sound has increased album-on-album and ‘Medicine’ gives all that you could hope to expect, and more. Hook intensive melodies, tight-as-you-like riffs, lyrically rich and contemplative, and delivered with a passion that drives with the unstoppable force of a freight train.
The songs on ‘Medicine’ draw on personal experience and wider involvement with people and places - with its simple statements of regret ‘American Beauty’ offers a sorrowful melancholy, the involving ‘Tightrope’ holds out a little more hope, the revelations of ‘Avalanche’ bring the questions right home, as does the resigned acceptance of ‘Heartbreak’ – and throughout Drew’s voice gives the tenderness, sorrow, musing and sincerity just the right cutting edge. The album also pours out some certain-sure anthems, songs like ‘Shine Like Lightning’ with its gutsy vocals and guitar-drive, the guitar and keys combination of ‘The Last Thing We Do’ forges a memory-searing song that Tom Petty probably wishes he’d written, and 'I Got You' packs all the emotion you're likely to need in a song.
Playing on ‘Medicine’ are Drew Holcomb (vocals, guitar) Ellie Holcomb (vocals, guitar) Nathan Dugger (guitar, keys) Rich Brinsfield (bass). The album releases on 26 January 2015 on Magnolia Music, and Drew tours the UK in April, details here: www.drewholcomb.com
Reviewer: Tom Franks