It is not often I get sent a band to review who I fall in love with; Larry and His Flask however are one of those bands. These guys are superb! Their blend of folk, psychobilly, punk and ska is uplifting, catchy and quirky. With a sound that is fresh and interesting, Larry and His Flask are the type of band you need when you are feeling down.
The formulaic band setup is decorated with the addition of mandolin, banjo, harmonica and an array of brass instruments they have an arsenal of sounds and influences at their disposal. Lead singer Ian Cook is a phenomenal story teller, each word sung is laced with charm and passion which captivates you as a listener.
Opening track ‘Closed Doors’ starts with the drone of the double bass and the accompaniment of a frantic mandolin riff which then explodes into a brilliant psycho-billy esq guitar riff, layered on top of this is Cook’s alluring vocal style which can switch easily between clean vocals and a gruff rasp perfectly. You could say that their second track ‘Big Ride’ is similar to the latter; but it is the addition of their brass section which makes this band so diverse and always keeping you on your toes and interested.
The title track (‘Hobo’s Lament’) is a mellow ska influenced song, with a beautiful banjo lead and offbeat acoustic guitar. Lead vocals are accompanied by some great harmonies and vocal decoration, with a cracking blues influenced lead guitar.
The final two tracks couldn’t be more different from each other. ‘Swing’ is upbeat, chaotic and unbelievably catchy with a great horn section which should get anybody up and dancing. The track is reminiscent of those crazy gypsy punks Gogol Bordello.
Closing track ‘So Long’ ends the release on a calmer not, with just an acoustic guitar and the most charismatic croon vocally its a perfect ending. The added jazz-inspired trumpet solo is yet another example of their eclectic sound and influence.
I think Larry and His Flask’s newest release has shot into my top 5 releases of the year which is mad considering I had never heard of them before. They have a ridiculous amount of influences and a sound which is refreshing and interesting. I urge you to check out this band.
‘Hobo’s Lament’ by Larry and His Flask is available now on Paper + Plastick.
Words by Robert Maddison (@bertmaddison)