It's been over a decade since singer/songwriter Ray Vietti and songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Alex Salcido discovered they shared a bond in music. They decided to offer it up to the world as The Harmed Brothers, putting out four albums, touring constantly and evolving their sound from a banjo/guitar duo to a full-on band along the way. For their fifth album, Across The Waves, the songwriters have settled in the river town of Ludlow, Kentucky, just outside of Cincinnati. The small town feel resonates throughout Across The Waves' ten tracks.
The album opens with "Skyline Over," a driving rocker with smart lyrics and an excellent vocal. With its ringing guitars and memorable chorus, the group shows a strong pop sense in a track that recalls elements of the Gin Blossoms and the Wallflowers. The song, like several others through the album, adds a country-tinged guitar solo. "Picture Show" follows and is more of the same, but with edgier, fuzzed out guitars. The song showcases a nice mix of acoustic and electric guitars.
On "Funnies," the band slows down the tempo with an almost military-style drum beat courtesy of Ryan Land. The song features another strong vocal and some tasteful guitar work as well. The song, "Where You're Going," starts with a gospel feel and an emotional vocal over an organ. The track moves to a slow burn, with swampy production, pedal steel guitar, and dreamy backgrounds of swirling sounds, truly making it a highlight of the disc.
The band offers up a mid-tempo slice of power pop on the jangly "In A Staring Contest" while "River Town" is an acoustic-driven track with some tasteful pedal steel guitar showing off the group's country side. The album closes strongly with "Time," an emotional ballad with an excellent vocal. The track recalls the Stones' glory days and features some excellent guitar work.
Vietti and Salcido have spent the past decade plus honing their craft and have turned the Harmed Brothers into a formidable unit. With excellent vocals, tight musicianship, and an emphasis on song craft and lyrics, Across The Waves is a winner and well worth a listen.