Fox Parlor. Photo: Courtesy of Artist/Facebook
The blues rock genre is one that’s always survived, no matter what else has been happening in music. This is definitely true in the South, especially in Texas, and even more specifically in Houston. A couple of years ago I stumbled across Houston blues rockers Fox Parlor and I was impressed with the strength of their album Hell Or High Water. Being in blues rock, you’re having to go up against heavy hitters like Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the like. However, on their latest release, West Dallas Rodeo, the band easily proves that they’re up to the task. The three-song EP produced by John Evans and Steve Christensen really showcases the depths in which the band has grown since their debut.
The opener, “Alligator,” has the kind of swagger you want behind blues rock. The tones on the dual guitars, the hook-heavy licks, and the intensity behind the drums and bass together make the song a solid opener. The riffs that these guys employ take you to another place that’s filled with loose women and smoke filled bars and they keep the pace on track from start to finish. They follow this up with the silky and murky fuzz of “Burn Like Me,” where the track sounds like it came from another era. Thick with seventies undertones and an underlying energy emanate from within each catchy note. When the song really starts to hit after a slow but intriguing boil, the band doesn’t disappoint. The listener gets rewarded with a sound that makes you long for another time when free love and open drug use were easier to encounter. The band even slows things down in the middle without losing your attention, before bringing you back to that thunderous chorus without missing a beat.
Things get closed off by the foot-tapping and memorable song, “Do What I Want,” where again, the band finds themselves in another era. This isn’t a bad thing at all though, as the murky and muddy bassline coupled with the hook filled guitars and tumultuous drums create the biggest stand alone track of the three. There’s something about desperation mixed with Southern charm in the vocals that mix with the energy of the band that makes you feel like these guys have tapped into something bigger than what’s happening right now in their entire genre. You half expect to find the band sipping 40s of malt liquor in a government office while the head-bopping track plays in the background.
All in all, these guys prove that they’re growing by leaps and bounds within a genre that’s often difficult to grow in. In just three songs they grab your attention and make you want for more when the EP finishes off. You can grab your own copy of West Dallas Rodeo when Fox Parlor performs at the release party at Fitzgerald’s on Saturday, May 21. The all ages show will also feature sets from HandsomeBeast and Mojave Red with doors at 8 pm and a $10 cover.