Old Believers explores different territories without fully submerging into them, yet at the same time, avoiding a generic country record identity.
2012, Readymade Records
8.0 / 10.0
After reading through the press release for Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons’ new album Old Believers, you’d be hard pressed not to want a listen. ‘Produced by Brendan Benson and recorded at Welcome to 1979 in Nashville, Tennessee’, I’m reliably informed. So far, so good. Album opener “This Is How It Goes” provides echoes of Zero 7, with its female driven vocals adding a lightness to make even the greyest day in London the most joyous of your life. However, by track three “Old Love”, I felt the album had taken a turn for the worse, and found myself shouting ‘ABORT, ABORT!’ You’ll probably agree it’s a terrible point in time to write off an album – and you’d be right.
Cory Chisel has created an album full of character and personality. A personality that would make even the most anti-country/folk fan feel a need to kick back with a beer and ponder life; to grab their keys and set off on a road trip. Yet, this isn’t essentially a classic country record. Initially, the album falls into this mold, but as Old Believers progresses, it falls in and out of folk, rock and blues. The use of female backing vocals, acoustic and rhythm guitars, and the added reinforcement of pianos, fiddles and harmonicas gives Old Believers a deftness not seen in your average country/folk album.
The record sticks to its country/folk routes, but with Benson’s influence behind the production desk, Old Believers explores different territories without fully submerging into them, yet at the same time, avoiding a generic country record identity. “Laura” echoes Lennon on keys, and is followed by “Foxgloves”, of which I can already hear a Glastonbury crowd singing together in unison. Standout track “Times Won’t Change”, has a gritty Oasis swagger and offers a spine-tingling fiddle dominance.
Standout tracks vary depending on your mood, (and mine are bi-polar throughout Old Believers) which just shows the scope this man has; a scope comparable to that of producer Benson himself. Lyrically gifted, Chisel’s voice adds further charm to a record full of character, and the man knows when to push and pull his whisky soaked voice. If you want an album to drink to, fall in love to, and even take with you while ripping down Highway 65 – Cory Chisel and The Wandering Sons are at your service.