Inside the Horse’s Head
Ranging from Band-like workouts (“Noelle”) to brooding, minor-chord anthems (“Even You”), this second release from Portland’s 44 Long satisfies in a genre increasingly populated by apers and imitators of Uncle Tupelo and John Fogerty. Relying on hooks and a solid pop sense, Brian Berg and crew build songs on mood and melody, with vocals that at times remind the listener of the late Richard Manuel — that fragile, beaten shell that still has the power to make us feel. “Steeple Chase” stomps like Neil Young and Crazy Horse — with searing, barely in control guitars winding around an angry melody, driving the demons down. All told, this is an impressive record.
Sideburn Records, 3158 E. Burnside St., Portland, OR 97214