‘Pariah Brothers’ is the latest effort from Clonmel-based blues rock power trio Crow Black Chicken (Christy O’Hanlon – guitar, vocals; Stephen McGrath – bass; Gev Barrett – drums). The album packs a dozen greasy, old school, Kentucky fried tunes; very much in the style of Southern rock staples Lynyrd Skynyrd and Gov’t Mule seasoned with folkish overtones.
The album opens with Jonestown, a climbing ode to the ill-fated cult commune, a fine showcase for O’Hanlon’s dextrous guitar picking as well as McGrath and Barrett’s solid grooves and fine interplay. This gives way to Justice, a hard-hitting, slide-guitar lead number. These opening tracks set the tone for what is to follow over the next couple of tracks.
Crow Black Chicken take their collective foot off of the gas pedal for the rambling South Roman Street, which sees O’Hanlon give possibly his most bravado-laden, gutsy, soulful vocal performance across the twelve tracks to be heard on ‘Pariah Brothers’. The more subdued The Prophet follows, breezy and laidback in tone. The dip in energy carries on for the lion’s share of the album’s mid-section before picking right back up on its shortest track, the ‘blood, guts and broken bones’ of Deer Meat Unloaded.
Elsewhere, there are some interesting sonic treats to be found on ‘Pariah Brothers’. Freedom opens with a nice fuzzed out, walking bass line. The title track similarly has some nice bass tones laying the foundation for some gently reverberated guitar licks and a Hendrix-esque vocal double-tracking and delivery.
Stylistically, ‘Pariah Brothers’ can hardly be accused of reinventing the wheel. Lyrically, it doesn’t offer much for examination. Quite simply, Crow Black Chicken have offered up a solid, bluesy, hard rock album chock full of tasty licks and infectious grooves. It’s old school in its approach and if that’s what you like, look no further.