Immortal Lee County Killers – These Bones Will Rise to Love You Again

Immortal Lee County Killers
These Bones Will Rise to Love You Again

There was a time not too long ago that you could count on the Immortal Lee County Killers for manic, trashy punk-blues with distorted vocals. However, the group’s latest release, These Bones Will Rise to Love You Again, is a wholy different animal – one that’s sleeker and more toned than anything the band has done before. The lineup has changed yet again to include Jeff Goodwin on keyboards, but it doesn’t seem like this is the root of the style shift. Perhaps the Immortal Lee County Killers just got tired of the whole grungy blues thing, or maybe it’s an intentional move to be more commercial, but regardless of the reasons, the result is one fans may or may not be fond of.

These Bones Will Rise to Love You Again starts off a bit dryly with a trio of so-so tracks including “Turn on the Panther,” “Revolution Summer” (yes, a cover of Pussy Galore), and “Blues.” These songs just lack the Immortal Lee County Killers’ normal oomph. The opening number sounds more like radio-ready rock, while “Blues” just rambles along with little of the sound you would expect from the title. “Boom Boom” has a nice chugging guitar intro and quickly picks up steam to become something a bit more reminiscent of what fans expect from the band.

Oddly enough, it’s the slower, more standard blues and gospel numbers on These Bones Will Rise to Love You Again that really shine. “Stitched in Sin” is front porch-style blues with a fairly spare sound and lethargic vocals that perfectly fit the style. The final track, “No More My Lord,” is presented a capella like a chain gang spiritual. Although still a departure from the punk-blues of previous releases, this pair of songs sounds like a more natural progression for a band like the Immortal Lee County Killers than some of the seemingly watered-down rock tunes on the rest of the album.

These Bones Will Rise to Love You Again is a hard album to be objective about simply due to the style shift. Some fans of the band’s previous efforts may find this new twist to be one in the wrong direction, while others may see this as just the next level for an already great band. Personally, I don’t find the music here bad in any obvious way – it just isn’t as striking as the group’s first two albums. Whether this disc gets an all-around thumbs up from other fans remains to be seen, but I for one hope the Immortal Lee County Killers regain that gritty edge for their next release.