With latest release In Shambles, Orlando-based garage rock band The Woolly Bushmen transport us back to the worlds of raucous rockabilly and grooving surf-rock for an album that begs to be blasted from house party speakers.
Known for their use of vintage organs and fuzzy guitar riffs, The Woolly Bushmen craft an impeccable sense of place in the eleven tracks of In Shambles. The three-piece seem to have tapped into the very essence of 50s and 60s rock, infusing it with their own sprinkle of soul and swagger, and the result is positively delicious.
Lead singer Simon Palombi’s nasally, manic vocals are the album’s very structure; his fervent energy propels each song forward with unrelenting force. Far from classically trained, Palombi leans into his rough-around-the-edges tendencies. His grunts, voice breaks, and screams are all testaments to the band’s embodiment of unabashed mayhem.
Leading the album is “What Yer Doin To Me,” a rowdy rock tune that can best be described as what would happen if The Beach Boys and Buddy Holly had a musical, rockabilly baby. Thumping drums and a driving guitar groove effortlessly propel the song, while Palombi’s impassioned shrieks give it an undeniable authenticity.
“What Yer Doin To Me” sets the tone for the rest of the album: raw, wild, and tantalizing. Lively guitar is an impressive feature throughout the album; the wailing riffs in “Paid” and “Goin Out West” add a particular kick to an already-rollicking work. One of the most unique and praiseworthy elements of In Shambles, however, is the use of vintage organ. Both “Dense” and “Fire Tonight” utilize the instrument for an almost spooky effect, giving a prominently high-energy album an unexpected sonic depth.
After listening to In Shambles, you’ll wonder just how The Woolly Bushmen remain relatively unknown, and how long that could possibly last. Though the three-piece flexes their creative imagination throughout the album’s varied tracks, they maintain an impressive clarity of voice in this latest offering. Rather than rely on gimmicks and mimicry, The Woolly Bushmen are modern rockabilly done right: gritty, in-your-face, and unquestionably irresistible. This album and this band are not ones to be missed.