REVIEW - Black Girls - Hell Dragon
Black Girls - Hell Dragon (Worthless Junk), January 2012
Black Girls has been wooing Richmond left and right lately with their new release, Hell Dragon, on Worthless Junk Records. As buoyant as Elton John, these tracks have enough show biz and signature sounds to outflair a Friday’s employee. And while the record feels like a fun time hanging out with a group of (very talented and humble) musician friends, the presentation doesn’t get sloppy. They also avoid sounding like studio newbs who want to use every little trick and additional instrumentation as possible. That can eat up a lot of studio time.
Recorded mostly at Minimum Wage Studios with the dashing Lance Koehler at the helm, the album boasts very extensive track listing details. Those extensive notes however made it a little more difficult to extract the actual info. I say maybe leave that stuff off for your first few records until you get your sea legs. The same goes for a few studio outtakes. The Beatles’ outtakes are cool and interesting but that’s because they’re the BEATLES. Since it was just an outro (on track “Club Bangin’”), though, I just pressed next track. These points are nit-picky because there’s nothing else negative I can say about the disc. The nine tracks are a feel-good, party down listen. You know if you put this puppy on the ol’ stereo a good number of hot ladies will suddenly start dancing at your behest.
“South Carolina” is such an infectious track, and it’s even more intriguing that the song doesn’t even mention SC until a good 3 and a half minutes into it. Singer Drew Gillihan shares songwriting and arranging duties with drummer Stephen Adam Farris IV. They switch up the sound of their songs, keeping it interesting and the listener involved. For instance, “Country Song” has moments of brutal guitar licks by Fletcher Babb that turn into a slower, drawn-out chorus with background vocals adding atmosphere and 60s charm. Gillihan’s falsetto is on-point. Although, I’m not sure that I believe him when he explains where he wants to go when he dies. He’s so young, what could he know about his dying wishes? Another nit-pick.
“Get Off,” the last track of the album, was recorded by Bryan Walthall (frmr. Bay of Pigs) at Sound of Music Studios. The song is very reminiscent of The Rascals’ “Groovin’ on a Sunday Afternoon.” Gillihan really “gets off” with semi-yodels croons, and yelps, and the chorus-centric arrangement really lends itself to some good call-and-response moments.
7.5 out of 10
February 3, 2012
PS Don’t forget Black Girls’ show TONIGHT (2/3) @ The Camel &
Feb 24 @ Kingdom vinyl release!