Brian Whitson and the Night Wolves
Spice Mountain Sacred Heart
Boom IslandBrian Whitson and the Night Wolves’ Spice Mountain Sacred Heart is absurd and yet utterly believable, making the album’s subtitle—“thirteen songs about believing in the impossible”—perfectly apt. Lyrics like “Let the blood flow like wine! Let me blossom in alfalfa-colored sunshine” are over the top, but the bump and thump bass, pelting snare drum and Nick Neaton’s rabid vocals make the effort sound less like theater and more like a drunken festival.
Spice Mountain Sacred Heart embraces a particular version of Americana: highway dust and roadside taverns tethered to a world of seafaring wanderers. It’s Bright Eyes meets Robbie Fulks, or Flogging Molly sings Pete Seeger. Neaton, who swiped the name Brian Whitson from an old man he once met, is an enchanting troubadour. In “Highway 75, King of Trail” he alternates between somber restraint and exuberant yell-singing, all the while incorporating ardent clap-alongs and fanatical strumming as if bent on breaking strings. This is a spirited, heartbreaking and fearless assortment. If any recent album is likely to make you quit your job and hit the open road, it’s this one.
Brian Whitson and the Night Wolves play the Bike Doctor, 1101 Toole Ave., Monday, Aug. 6, at 7 PM. Donations suggested.