Past Reviews

Friday, October 28, 2016

[ Album Review ] Hambone Relay - Free Hugs


Artist: Hambone Relay
Album: Free Hugs

Hambone Relay is a Rock/ Funk Organ Trio from Philadelphia, PA. Mark Brown (Hammond Organ/Keys), Rob Tait (Drums), John Udinsky Jr. (Guitar, Bass) make up this powerhouse trio. As multi-instrumentalists, songwriters, and touring musicians; their unique backgrounds, creativity, and pure happiness shine through on this collection of songs. Their exciting instrumental album "Free Hugs" is set to be released November 4th.

Track By Track:

Tenth & Market – Center City, on a crisp fall afternoon. Imagine just stepping out into the sunlight from the dark subway platform to be greeted by constant sounds of the busy street and inaudible chatter of people walking by. Electric guitar blends perfectly with sustained organ, transcending effortlessly between jazz and rock feels. With influences of Jimmy Preston, The Meters, and Jimmy Smith, there are countless musical avenues to wander down, while also carving out their own. Free Hugs is an exciting ride, so buckle up!

Mr. Square Peg + Miss Round Hole - A lo-fi radio version of Hambone Relay's sound is poured over this song like hot maple syrup on a stack of fluffy hotcakes. It sends you back to the days of spinning records all night that you bought at your favorite vinyl shop, then, immediately you're zapped back into today with all the smooth and crisp production, deep warm tones of electric guitar and organ. Reinforcing the idea of a modern rock band that continues to evolve, while simultaneously staying true to their roots. Organ and Guitar sing out as a duet, courting each other with melodies. Midway through the song you might find yourself doing double take when the band shakes things up like an Etch-a-Sketch, transitions that would make the most seasoned band run up to throw the band high fives on stage.  

Boilermaker – Just as the name suggests, a shot of well whiskey and a beer would go well with this tune. Smooth, with a little bite, followed by ice cold awesome organ vibes. Percussive jazz guitar riffs, and boasting a non-stop, ever evolving rhythm section. All in perfect harmony and time, building and breaking down intricate melodic sections. 

Chicken n’ Biscuits – Steaming hot, buttery flaky goodness right here. Picture sitting down to eat with extended family for a celebration. Sharing a table of home-cooked food on a late Sunday afternoon before the big game. Your uncle single handedly trying to drag you outside for a game of football, while maintaining eye contact with the last chicken drumstick on your plate. You might find yourself clapping along with the band halfway through the song, the music drops out to just claps and a lyrical jazzy guitar solo, when the whole band comes back in you feel the energy dripping, like condensation on an ice cold glass of your favorite beer. 



Peacefully Idle – (personal favorite) Peacefully Idle is a song that shows off the softer side of Hambone Relay. It starts off with a laid back, mellow R&B feel. The first rays of sunshine peeking through your window on your day off. Lazily making your way to the kitchen to start brewing some coffee, your puppy-dog already smiling at your feet. Smooth organ pads, light crispy guitar solos that pull right at your heartstrings. A beautiful ballad with one of the most serene moments on this album, as a cascading guitar solo brings this song to a satisfying end.

(We Gonna) Make It Right – Ready to get back to rocking?  Well these guys waste no time jumping back into their stride, warm upbeat grooves, impressive drum chops and more air-tight organ and guitar features. Hambone Relay has a way of making you feel at home in their songs. If you were having even an inkling of a bad day, this tune will make it right.

Scoop and Slap – Transported back to the seventies, rolling down the street in a souped up El Camino. Windows down, music up! Crazy funk breakdowns, organ and guitar really take over the bass lines, and then flare up into the sky like fireworks on a hot July night. 

High On The Five – Bouncy, fun, zippy, groovy, driving, this is a solid rock 'n roll tune. Something fun to listen for throughout the album is the little background noises at the end of tracks, or the excited shouting during songs when things start to get rambunctious.

Free Hugs – The title track of their album shows a wide range of the band's unique style, skill, and finesse as a dynamically driven trio. The tune starts off with a bright piano build, tight as a freshly packed tootsie roll, smooth organ flows seamlessly as the whole song gets flipped on its head. I imagine a live show of Hambone Relay being off the walls, high energy and fun. A band that really draws you in and doesn’t let go.

Sick, Brah! – A rowdy, explosive ending to a fun, rock solid, prominent release. Careening through the air waves, percussion storms in fast and strong, musicianship at its finest, their transitions melt and reform effortlessly. Being in Hambone Relay must feel like being the fastest runner during the bulls on parade. Talent and pure style for days. If you’re looking to move your feet and steal the spotlight on the dance floor, lace up your shoes, because this is your song. 


Make sure to pick up a copy of Free Hugs on November 4th, online or at their CD release show in Philadelphia. 

FREE HUGS CD Release Show:  

November 4th, 2016
Doors 8pm, $10, $7 adv
Bourbon & Branch
Philadelphia, PA
Doors: 8:00pm
Show: 9:00pm
$7 ADV $10 DOS

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