CD Review: Kasey Anderson and The Honkies “Heart of a Dog”

This Seattle and Portland-based band is composed of Kasey Anderson (vocals, guitar, percussion), Andrew KcKeag (guitar, vocals), Eric Corson (bass) and Mike Musburger (drums). Some of these names may be familiar to you – McKeag has spent time in Presidents of the United States of America and The Long Winters, Corson in The Long Winters, and Musburger in The Fastbacks, Young Fresh Fellows, The Posies, The Supersuckers, and countless other cult Seattle power pop and indie rock bands. The band resents the label “roots rock” and just wanted to make a straight up “rock and roll record” this time around.

Their latest effort, “Heart of a Dog,” begins with a gritty song called ‘The Wrong Light,’ which serves as an appropriate introduction to a band that can sizzle and groove. ‘Mercy’ is much more accessible, quite a refined pop roadhouse song with an infectious sing-a-long chorus; it is one of my favorites off the record. ‘Exit Ghost’ is another wonderful tune, driven by hardy piano, rustic vocals and harmonies. Another crowd-pleaser will be ‘Sirens and Thunder,’ with its greasy slide guitar and alt country vibe. ‘My Baby’s a Wrecking Ball’ is a fun little romp and ‘Save It for Later’ ends things on a foot stompin’ high note. Beyond these highlights are several ballads and jams that are in step with the other tunes, but just don’t leap off the page.

Try as they might, I am not sure “Heart Of A Dog” is going to steer them clear of the roots rock label, but I hope the band realizes that this is not a bad thing! Kasey Anderson and The Honkies released “Heart of a Dog” (Red River Records) on February 15.

Recommended if you like Will Hoge, Tom Petty or Pete Droge.

iPod-worthy tracks: 2, 3, 5, 8, 11

Kasey Anderson and The Honkies on MySpace