Hoots & Hellmouth – Salt

written by: April 12, 2012
Release Date: Apr. 10, 2012

★★★½☆

If Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers and Brett Dennen had an affair, their love-child would be Hoots & Hellmouth. Led by fiery carrot top Sean Hoots (guitar and vocals), the band’s latest studio album, Salt, is rich in rhythm and soul.

The album opens with track “Why Would You Not Want Want To Go There?” It’s a great introduction to Hoots’ song-writing skills and the acoustic strings (guitars, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, etc.) that can be expected on the rest of Salt. “I’ve built such a fanciful kingdom in my head / Say you don’t want to go there? / Why would you not want to go there?” sings Hoots. The song not only sets the mood for the album, it also exemplifies the group’s foundation in roots music (which touches on bluegrass, gospel, alternative country, blue and folk).

Salt is one of those albums that can be listened to front start to finish without feeling the need to skip through tracks. Instead of being divided by “stronger” and “weaker” songs, it’s more like faster versus slower pieces. The band is all about rhythm and beat—whether it’s coming from drummer Mike Reilly or from the collaborative foot-stomping of the quartet. It’s enough to make even the most static listener bob their head. For every upbeat song, (such as “Apple Like A Wrecking Ball” with Todd Erk on upright bass and Reilly brushing the snare drum), there is a softer, slower track to compliment it (like the melodic and elegant “City Lights On A Country Ceiling”).

Similar to a jam band, but with more organization and focus, Hoots & Hellmouth’s music sways through Salt’s 10-song track list with ease. Although the tunes are dynamic and feature characteristics from multiple genres—soul, country, rock, alternative—nothing about the album feels out of place or missing. Along with the occasional tambourine and harmonica, the group creates sounds that will get every listener on their feet, whether they’re at home alone, an audience member at a concert or squished on a subway.

If Mumford & Sons, The Avett Brothers and Brett Dennen had an affair, their love-child would be Hoots & Hellmouth. Led by fiery carrot top Sean Hoots (guitar and vocals), the band’s latest studio album,Salt, is rich in rhythm and soul.

The album opens with track “Why Would You Not Want Want To Go There?” It’s a great introduction to Hoots’ songwriting skills and the acoustic strings (guitars, banjo, mandolin, upright bass, etc.) that can be expected on the rest of Salt. “I’ve built such a fanciful kingdom in my head / Say you don’t want to go there? / Why would you not want to go there?” sings Hoots. The song not only sets the mood for the album, it also exemplifies the group’s foundation in roots music (which touches on bluegrass, gospel, alternative country, blue and folk).

Salt is one of those albums that can be listened to front start to finish without feeling the need to skip through tracks. Instead of being divided by “stronger” and “weaker” songs, it’s more like faster versus slower pieces. The band is all about rhythm and beat—whether it’s coming from drummer Mike Reilly or from the collaborative foot-stomping of the quartet. It’s enough to make even the most static listener bob their head. For every upbeat song, (such as “Apple Like A Wrecking Ball” with Todd Erk on upright bass and Reilly brushing the snare drum), there is a softer, slower track to compliment it (like the melodic and elegant “City Lights On A Country Ceiling”).

Similar to a jam band, but with more organization and focus, Hoots & Hellmouth’s music sways through Salt’s 10-song track list with ease. Although the tunes are dynamic and feature characteristics from multiple genres—soul, country, rock, alternative—nothing about the album feels out of place or missing. Along with the occasional tambourine and harmonica, the group creates sounds that will get every listener on their feet, whether they’re at home alone, an audience member at a concert or squished on a subway.

Hoots & Hellmouth – Salt tracklist:

  1. “Why Would You Not Want To Go There?”
  2. “I Don’t Mind Your Cussing”
  3. “Lay Low”
  4. “Apple Like a Wrecking Ball”
  5. “Ocean, Open Wide”
  6. “City Lights on a Country Ceiling”
  7. “Shorthand for a Natural Man”
  8. “The Ache”
  9. “Great Day in the Morning”
  10. “Being Born Again”
  • Guest

    Nice review. Nice review.