The Liquorsmiths - This Book Belongs To
Folk, Rock The Liquorsmiths are yet another indie folk band coming out of Southern California who seem to think the market isn’t yet saturated enough with this type of music. With this trend of combining 1890s guitar, banjos and facial hair with 1990s alternative rock and indie so incredibly played out, bands really need to come up with something original and different in order to not be lumped in with the likes of Mumford & Sons or Bon Iver. While The Liquorsmiths do have their own style and decent production, they fail to make an impression with their forthcoming album, This Book Belongs To, due out on August 25. Are there some decent songs on the album? Of couse. Do they have an interesting and different enough angle to push through what I hope is the dying maelstrom of other indie folk hopefuls? Probably not.
The San Diego-based Liquorsmiths have been releasing the odd single or live performance on Soundcloud here and there since they formed about two years ago, but they have mostly been focusing on touring and thus have earned a sort of cult following. Playing anything from dive bars to festivals to the House of Blues, this trio have been able to work with some pretty important indie folk acts like The Marshal Tucker Band. Despite all the practice, their live performances seem hit-and-miss. With a number of videos on Youtube, some of The Liquorsmiths’ performances like their “Tiny Desk Concert” are well-done and cute. Others like their recent performance at San Diego’s hipster Mecca bar The Tin Can are lackluster at best. It’s a mixed bag with The Liquorsmiths, unfortunately, so I can’t tell you whether their concert cult following is warranted.


The first single from This Book Belongs To has already been released. It’s called “Get Well Soon,” and thanks to singer and guitarist Drew Thams’ versatile voice, this song is actually pretty interesting and different. The guitar is kind of a standard rolling rhythm riff, almost bluegrass-inspired, while drummer Clayton Payne uses brushes to create a softspoken beat. Ryan Fischer’s keyboards and other percussion are absent on this track, which is just one of the reasons “Get Well Soon” is an odd choice for a first single. This particular track is not exactly representative of what appears on the new album. Older tracks like “Sycamore Rope” and “Let It Come” contain Thams’ rolling folk guitar style and a high-pitched timbre to his vocals which is reminiscent of what most people associate with old western campfire songs. This Book Belongs To, save for “Get Well Soon,” is notably bereft of this style.



More common on The Liquorsmiths’ first EP release is a slower, more typically folk style of guitar playing from Thams and a sort of smoother, more modern vocal timbre. Most of the songs also have a little more of Fischer’s keys on them, not that it adds much. For an extremely contrite comparison, I’d say the rest of the songs on This Book Belongs To are less Mumford & Sons and more Bon Iver. “Iris’ Song” has a nice bluesy element to it, and reminds me a bit of Bob Dylan. Another highlight is the closing song, “Day By Day.” This one is very much on the indie side of the spectrum, and when Thams launches into his characteristic, by now, formulaic crescendo chorus, he sounds a bit like Adam Duritz of Counting Crows.
Do you see where I’m going here? The indie folk produced by The Liquorsmiths, while well-written and pretty, is generally unremarkable and, dare I say, stagnant. Somehow while sounding like a bunch of indie folk greats and switching up their style, they still manage to sound samey and formulaic by the end of This Book Belongs To. If you love indie folk and want yet another band who does a slightly different take on it, then I’d say give The Liquorsmiths a try, but when this trend peters out and everyone shaves their mustaches and starts wearing belts again, don’t say I didn’t call it. This stuff just isn’t sustainable and once people are over this trend they’ll see, with a few notable exceptions, that most of it sounds the same. Unfortunately, The Liquorsmiths thus far are not one of the exceptions.
3
Brutal Resonance

The Liquorsmiths - This Book Belongs To

6.5
"Alright"
Released off label 2015
The Liquorsmiths are yet another indie folk band coming out of Southern California who seem to think the market isn’t yet saturated enough with this type of music. With this trend of combining 1890s guitar, banjos and facial hair with 1990s alternative rock and indie so incredibly played out, bands really need to come up with something original and different in order to not be lumped in with the likes of Mumford & Sons or Bon Iver. While The Liquorsmiths do have their own style and decent production, they fail to make an impression with their forthcoming album, This Book Belongs To, due out on August 25. Are there some decent songs on the album? Of couse. Do they have an interesting and different enough angle to push through what I hope is the dying maelstrom of other indie folk hopefuls? Probably not.
The San Diego-based Liquorsmiths have been releasing the odd single or live performance on Soundcloud here and there since they formed about two years ago, but they have mostly been focusing on touring and thus have earned a sort of cult following. Playing anything from dive bars to festivals to the House of Blues, this trio have been able to work with some pretty important indie folk acts like The Marshal Tucker Band. Despite all the practice, their live performances seem hit-and-miss. With a number of videos on Youtube, some of The Liquorsmiths’ performances like their “Tiny Desk Concert” are well-done and cute. Others like their recent performance at San Diego’s hipster Mecca bar The Tin Can are lackluster at best. It’s a mixed bag with The Liquorsmiths, unfortunately, so I can’t tell you whether their concert cult following is warranted.


The first single from This Book Belongs To has already been released. It’s called “Get Well Soon,” and thanks to singer and guitarist Drew Thams’ versatile voice, this song is actually pretty interesting and different. The guitar is kind of a standard rolling rhythm riff, almost bluegrass-inspired, while drummer Clayton Payne uses brushes to create a softspoken beat. Ryan Fischer’s keyboards and other percussion are absent on this track, which is just one of the reasons “Get Well Soon” is an odd choice for a first single. This particular track is not exactly representative of what appears on the new album. Older tracks like “Sycamore Rope” and “Let It Come” contain Thams’ rolling folk guitar style and a high-pitched timbre to his vocals which is reminiscent of what most people associate with old western campfire songs. This Book Belongs To, save for “Get Well Soon,” is notably bereft of this style.



More common on The Liquorsmiths’ first EP release is a slower, more typically folk style of guitar playing from Thams and a sort of smoother, more modern vocal timbre. Most of the songs also have a little more of Fischer’s keys on them, not that it adds much. For an extremely contrite comparison, I’d say the rest of the songs on This Book Belongs To are less Mumford & Sons and more Bon Iver. “Iris’ Song” has a nice bluesy element to it, and reminds me a bit of Bob Dylan. Another highlight is the closing song, “Day By Day.” This one is very much on the indie side of the spectrum, and when Thams launches into his characteristic, by now, formulaic crescendo chorus, he sounds a bit like Adam Duritz of Counting Crows.
Do you see where I’m going here? The indie folk produced by The Liquorsmiths, while well-written and pretty, is generally unremarkable and, dare I say, stagnant. Somehow while sounding like a bunch of indie folk greats and switching up their style, they still manage to sound samey and formulaic by the end of This Book Belongs To. If you love indie folk and want yet another band who does a slightly different take on it, then I’d say give The Liquorsmiths a try, but when this trend peters out and everyone shaves their mustaches and starts wearing belts again, don’t say I didn’t call it. This stuff just isn’t sustainable and once people are over this trend they’ll see, with a few notable exceptions, that most of it sounds the same. Unfortunately, The Liquorsmiths thus far are not one of the exceptions.
Jul 28 2015

Off label

Official release released by the artist themselves without the backing of a label.

Layla Marino

info@brutalresonance.com
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance

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