The Forty-Fives – High Life High Volume

The Forty-Fives
High Life High Volume

One has to wonder what cruel turn of fate has kept the Forty-Fives a complete secret in this neck of the woods until now, when the band has released a third full-length album, High Life High Volume. It’s not every day a good, old-school style garage band comes along that doesn’t bore you to tears with overdone riffs and bad rip-offs of the masters of the genre. And let’s face it, when you are going for a retro style, there isn’t going to be a whole lot of new ground broken because that isn’t the point. In this type of situation, a band either gets it or doesn’t – there isn’t much of a middle ground.

The Forty-Fives are a band that has achieved that nearly flawless level of emulation. The music is perfectly 60s sounding, complete with Hammond organ and swaggering vocals. These boys have rhythm and blues to spare, and it’s clear they have studied their forefathers well. The songs on High Life High Volume are a great collection of straight-up rock ‘n roll with plenty of boogie that sounds more Motor City than directly out of the south.

Each of the 11 tracks here is perfectly suited for a late-night drive or an afternoon barbeque. Opener “Who Do You Think You Are?” sets the stage nicely with plenty of horns and an infectious beat. The members of the Forty-Fives add in guest musicians on harmonica, horns, and handclapping on a number of tracks to round out their own guitar, bass, keys, and drums lineup. “Go Ahead and Shout” has an almost rockabilly feel, while “Too Many Miles” slows the pace to a languid drawl. “Bicycle Thief” heads right into country territory before returning to the rock for “C’mon Now Love Me.” The band also includes a cover of Otis Blackwell’s “Daddy Rolling Stone,” which features backing vocals by Deanne Iovan. This female voice is a nice accompaniment to Bryan Malone’s vocals and something I’d like to see the Forty-Fives do more of on future records.

Despite a few side trips into other genres, High Life High Volume is first and foremost a rock ‘n roll album. It is definitely about time the world finds out about this album because this group easily blows all the other retro-rockers out of the water. If you are looking for some old-school rock that doesn’t sound faked or pretentious then look no further – the Forty-Fives are hear to shake your soul.