Fowler’s Bluff’s newest album, Confluence, is as its name suggests: a trip down some river in the south, only less in the Nicholas Sparks kind of way and more in the rugged, whiskey-bottle-by-my-side kind of way.
The first two tracks off of the album (whose title was inspired by Russ Franklin’s poem, “Confluence: Riverside Cafe, Saint Marks”) are fairly impressive, with “Leave This City” starting the album off strong and “Bandog” leaving a faint Black Keys’ impression. The influence from this kind of indie rock band already sets Fowler’s Bluff high on the rating list, and things only get better as you reach “Old Guitar”, which showcases McBride’s pure vocal talent near the beginning and notorious guitar riffs as the song draws on. Strong lyrics (“my soul is trapped in these strings”) and a crawling yet catchy tempo also set this song apart and definitely make it worth more than just one listen.
“Lazy Anxious” features a rhythm just as slow along with falsetto vocals, while “Lost Key” and “Heavy Meddle” don’t necessarily stand out among the album’s seven songs. Things get muddled at certain points throughout Confluence, but as soon as the band realizes listeners might get bored, they pick right back up with a stronger, more appealing track. Lovers of softer rock genres will probably find Fowler’s Bluff a good balance between “not enough” and “too much”. The band delivers, but in their own way.
“Confluence” itself is slightly disappointing–one expects something nearly as good as “Old Guitar” for what’s supposed to be the main attraction–but its drowsy, ghostly impression does make it a good in-between for “Lazy Anxious” and “Heavy Meddle”. Other than that, it blends into the background as a less exciting experience.
The album is better praised for its tougher, more alternative rock songs. Indie music is undoubtedly on the rise, and the band does well to play into popular culture while still maintaining the comfortable, homey vibe of a neighborhood band.
Fowler’s Bluff will be playing a CD release show on January 30th at The Ale and the Witch in St. Pete, and then at 3 Daughters Brewing Company on February 7th.