In trying to analyze the Barroom Philosophers’ self titled, debut full length album, I realized all of the obvious. First and foremost, the sound of the album is top notch. I mean, this album sounds really REALLY good! Barroom Philosophers did not skimp on the production, recording at Syracuse’s state of the art More Sound Recording Studio. Barroom Philosophers was recorded and mixed by Andrew Greacen and mastered by Jason “Jocko” Randall. The cover of the album features a great piece of artwork by James Coldiron. All ten songs are catchy, the lyrics are witty, and vocalist Dave Koegel has a voice that is just perfect for the sound and style of this band.
Hello Captain Obvious, now let’s look below the surface – The Barroom Philosophers’ debut album is a self introduction that has been expertly arranged, almost curated like an art exhibit, to give the listener a genuine, well rounded depiction of this band’s identity and what they’re all about.
First impressions being everything, the album opens with “Playing Dumb,” which clearly states right out of the gate that these guys have a stronghold on reggae rock fusion. Witty lyrics and a perfect voice from Dave Koegel right from the start of this cd. From there, they offer “Zillion Pound Baby,” a funky rock song with an undeniable bass funk and rhythm that reminds me of a homage to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. “Peter Parker” is a straight up feel good rock song that just feels optimistic. It’s at this point I realize the versatility of Dave Koegel’s singing. This is the third song in and each song begins with a different voice from Dave, each one fitting the song perfectly.
The songs “Sunflower Orange” and “Mountain High” have a certain strut to the music. Makes me think of John Travolta walking down the street in Saturday Night Fever, but way more bad ass! The rhythm section of Ty Hancock on bass and Brenden Boshart on drums have no problem finding the right groove. These men are no chumps. “Mountain High” features some piano work that adds a different color to the music.
“Thief” and “Animal Is Caged” have a bluesy swagger to them and really let guitarists Shawn Tallet and Josh Way get comfy, spread out just a little, and flex their blues muscles. You can tell that these guys can get as bluesy as they’d like. Barroom Philosophers are so damn versatile. There is even a quick verse in “Animal Is Caged” that is delivered with a hip-hop bounce, almost as if to say, “Yeah, we could be hip-hop if we want to. We just don’t want to.”
The Barroom Philosophers fuse this genre with that. They spend a lot of time imposing elements of whatever genre fits the song, proving they are definitely NOT one trick ponies by any stretch. Their debut album extends to more musical genres than you can count on one hand, but seems to always circle back around to that reggae rock vibe. Let me try to explain this. Barroom Philosophers are a rock band at the heart of it all, but there is this reggae element that keeps surfacing in their sound. It’s not a thick and rootsy island reggae, singing about Rastafari with thick accents, but it goes deeper than just a fondness of the upbeat. I would call it “Workingman’s Reggae.” If I could personify the music, I would call it rock but it’s clear that someone far down the bloodline banged a Jamaican somewhere along the way. If the music were a food, I’d say it has this Caribbean spice that is not predominant, but more of an underlying flavor that the smoothness of the whole dish rides on.
These guys are rather indescribable and don’t fall under any one typical standardized umbrella. But don’t take my word for it. Get out there and see the Barroom Philosophers live, grab your own copy of their new, self titled album, and let them introduce themselves to you!
Barroom Philosophers will be released on February 3rd. Available on itunes, Spotify, Amazon, and anywhere they are playing live.
Keep up to date:
Website – http://www.barroomphilosophers.com
Facebook – https://m.facebook.com/BarroomPhilosophers/