The Liquorsmiths - 'This Book Belongs To'

Independent Spotlight is a continuing series on Stewart’s blog. The series revolves around independent artists and bands sending their music to Brett to review. No band is promised a positive review, and all music is reviewed honestly in an effort to better independent music.

In this edition of the Independent Spotlight, we’re going to be taking a look at the Liquorsmiths, a new folk rock trio from San Diego. Their new EP is due out on August 25, titled ‘This Book Belongs To.’ We’ve snagged an early listen to it, though, so let’s check out what the band has in store for us with their six new tunes.

The opening track of the record is ‘Coy With Me,’ a melodic, slow-moving ballad-like song. Musically and lyrically, I really dig what’s going on. The lyrics are quite insightful and the plodding, natural feel of the instrumentation is inviting. I’m a bit at a crossroads with vocalist Drew Thams - He’s fine when he’s crooning softly. When he tries to sing higher and louder, it’s a train wreck that he should avoid in the future. You gotta’ know your strengths, and the latter half of ‘Coy With Me’ isn’t his.

‘Get Well Soon,’ the single for the EP, has a much more upbeat feel to it. Again, I find the band very sonically appealing in their performance. It’s nicely mastered, but simplistic and doesn’t try to be anything it isn’t. On ‘Get Well Soon,’ Thams stays in his vocal range for the first half. Part of the reason his voice is a bit grating when he kicks it up a notch is because he’s got a high timbre, something that needs to be embedded in the mix a bit more. (Think an electric guitar with way too much high end on it, not allowing any room for mid or bass.)

Lyrically, ‘Iris’ Song’ is in a much higher echelon than its counterparts. As for the final three pieces on the album, I didn’t find anything that really caught my fancy. I found ‘Day By Day’ aimless and ‘Thief’ unmemorable. The strongest efforts on the entire EP are ‘Get Well Soon’ and ‘Iris’ Song.’ Thus, it’s not the best album. The kicker is the vocals: replace them with someone that can delivery them better, and this music would be dramatically more appealing. Check them out if you’re feeling daring, though. They’re certainly not a bad folk group.