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Review

VOLK Bring The Noise And Much More With Their Album ‘Cashville’

VOLK has come a long way since members Chris Lowe (electric guitar, vocals) and Eleot Reich (drums, lead vocals) met in Germany circa 2013. Fast forward a few years and a plane trip to Nashville, they began to hit the road to share their music. During their travels (and various adventures), they slowly evolved their sound and look, into the band we now know. Reich tells of a pivotal moment: “I ran into a Goodwill during one tour, in Augusta, Georgia and bought this short blue sequin dress. The moment I put it on and sat down behind the drums that night, it’s like something clicked. From then on, we’ve been crystalizing our look, our feel. VOLK wouldn’t have become a band without Berlin. Likewise, it needed that next layer of American soil to pump blood into what was until then a partially realized dream.”

Now the duo have developed a reputation for honest music that ain’t messing around, blending so many different genres within their sound keeps the listeners on their toes. They say it’s “equal parts rock-roaring, twanging, honky tonking, acid- tripping, American-ing, and spaghetti western-ing”. It is a brief description of what to expect from their new album Cashville. Lowe explains, “Cashville provides a much wider spectrum of our sonic journey. It’s what we’ve been doing live for years encapsulated into an LP.” Let’s press play and find out what Cashville has to offer.

Opening the album is the amply named “Welcome to Cashville”. From the start, they kick the doors down and let the listener know that VOLK has arrived. The way the duo let their instruments off their leashes show that they mean business! Lyrically, a story summarised by the lines, “We took our drums and guitar to a damn techno bar / Them kids these days don’t dig swing and sway / Bar man said, excuse me ma’am, can’t bring that crap around / We traded rock’n’roll for all night DJ’s.” This song is all about its musical attitude. Lowe’s guitar is ferocious, and Reich’s drumming is relentless. Together, they create infectious energy that will bring down the house when performed live. 

The mood changes with the arrival of “Little Games”. It offers a country-rock vibe with some great vocal work as both share the spotlight. Just for good measure, they let loose towards the latter part of the song. VOLK has slipped in a few of their classic tracks into the album, the first being “Honey Bee”. It is a great rock n roll filled track with Reich’s vocals are on top form. “I Fed Animals” delivers more rock goodness. But, this time, their lyrical talents steal the spotlight. As shown with the opening lines, “I fed animals waiting so long for you / One wink to the lion, did not know what else to do.” Again, Reich’s vocals are great to hear, again adds some attitude to the mood. Not to be outdone, Lowe’s guitar occasionally comes in to steal some attention.

Watch the video for “I Fed Animals” below

“Atlanta Dog” delivers more of their no messing style of rock. Not only that, but its hooks pack one hell of a punch. Then, another stand out moment from the album appears with “Old Palestine (TX)”. It is a song written about Lowe’s hometown. He doesn’t hold back as he shares words which he describes as “pointing a finger, at the ugly parts: a small East Texan town, just one of countless cities across the American South, unwilling to grapple with its hurtful legacies of racism and white supremacy; modern-day residents left trapped in an antebellum time warp, drowning in stagnant economies, crumbling infrastructures, and cultural vacuums, victims to corporate scavenging.”

The details within his words say so much and paint so many scenes. Highlighted with lines such as “Over long-empty homes and a busted streetlight” and “But Davey’s dogwoods have withered and died.” The depth of his song is impressive. The music is low key, letting the lyrics shine. As a result, it allows Reich’s gentle vocals to add so much emotion to Lowe’s story. It confirms that there is a lot to VOLK than bringing the noise. Following on comes “Yorkshire Girl”. A story about fun communication can be between two people from different countries. 

VOLK are huge fans of Ray Wylie Hubbard, and their cover of his track “Snake Farm” shows it. They respect the original by keeping true to it but still giving their own unique spin. Afterwards comes “ETXorcism”, a captivating instrumental that lays the way for the outstanding “Revelator’s Bottleneck”. Its bluesy guitar intro ticks all the right boxes. Soon after, the pair let their vocals share the opening lines, “On the winding road / With a long, long way to go / With a busted headlight / And just a quarter of a tank to make it through the night.” Its lyrics have a devil’s crossroad feel, and it highlights yet again their storytelling qualities. However, this gets overshadowed when Lowe’s blues guitar is set loose. 

‘Cashville’ is one wild ride of an album and showcases the depth of the songwriting by VOLK

“Eagle Eye” brings some country and western vibes. The reduction in lyrical content lets the duo showcase more of their musical talents and arrangements. For just the two of them, it feels big and cinematic. Bringing the album to a close is another classic of theirs, “Simple Western Song”. It begins with a beautiful guitar before Reich’s gentle vocals get the story started. She does so with the lines “A cigarillo for Eastwood at dusk / Trotting on towards the setting sun / And the film fades with a Simple Western Song.” It is a combination of the two that continues to its end. It is a gorgeous track that is a pleasure to hear. Again, it highlights the depth and range which VOLK offer with their music. 

Cashville is the perfect showcase of what VOLK have to offer. Most people might only know their wilder side, but they can deliver so much more. The album highlights the depth of their lyrics and an impressive range of moods within their songs. It more than deserves the praise it will receive. So, press play and let their great music fill your eardrums!

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Music You Should Know Review

VOLK Unleash Their New Single ‘Welcome to Cashville’

It is hard to believe it has been a few years since VOLK released their epic EP Average American Band. Since then, Chris Lowe (vocals, guitar) and Eleot Reich (vocals, drums) have spent most of their time on the road having fun with their music. While they have been touring, they have had the pleasure to open for the likes of Charley Crockett, Diarrhea Planet, Hillbilly Casino and Lincoln Durham.

The duo has been quietly working on new material. Now they are ready to release their first single taken from their upcoming album Cashville. “Welcome to Cashville” is described by the band as “pops the modern music industry square in the face; it’s intentionally over-the-top, fuzzed-out, and bitingly sarcastic. The song rips open with VOLK’s label head harping for gratuitous record sales but quickly accelerates into ZZ/DC driving riffs and thunderous four-on-the-floor beats. The lyrics pay homage to previous middle-finger-in-the-air Rock anthems such as Twisted Sister’s We’re Not Gonna Take it, while injecting Country-styled wit that cuts like Waylon Jennings’ Are You Sure Hank Done it this Way”.

Watch the Video for “Welcome to Cashville”

“Welcome to Cashville” does not mess about as it bursts into life as soon as you press play. It is like they have released a caged beast. Longtime fans will notice this has a more ferocious type of sound. Usually, they infuse rock n’ roll with blues and Americana. Not this time around, as they have unleashed their inner rock animals with dirty riffs and thunderous drums. 

With the attitude they are projecting with their sound, they need the right words and vocals to match. Let’s talk about the lyrics first as the opening lines reflect a similar story shared by many independent rock musicians. They paint the scene with “It was another gray day in that city of Play / You know them swampies got their heads up the back way. We took our drums and guitar to a damn techno bar / Them kids these days don’t dig swing and sway. Barman said, Excuse me Ma’am, can’t bring that crap around / We traded rock n’ roll for all night DJ’s”.

VOLK are not pulling any punches with ‘Welcome to Cashville’

When the lines “Ooh hoo, Well it’s just like Davey Crockett said / Ooh hoo, You go to hell babe, I’m going to Texas!” we get a sassy vocal delivery by Reich. She has always sounded great throughout previous releases, but this is her at her best. Throughout, there is a playful manner to her tone. It is as if she is enjoying every moment. However, she is not afraid to pack a punch with her voice when required. Talking about vocals with attitude, wait for Lowe’s moment as the song comes to a close. 

“Welcome to Cashville” is a different kind of animal from VOLK. It makes you wonder what Chris Lowe and Eleot Reich have cooked up with their upcoming album Cashville. It is safe to say when it is set free, the world will know about it!

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Review

VOLK ARE NO ‘AVERAGE AMERICAN BAND’

The world seems to be going through a trend of 2 piece bands. Of the sea of musicians that fit this mould, Chris Lowe (TX, vox and guitar) and Eleot Reich (CA, vox and drums), aka VOLK, have something about them which makes them stand out.

 

Their 2015 release Boutique Western Swing Composition saw them compared them to the likes of White Stripes due to songs like “Simple Western Song” and “Like a Fool.” However, their bluesy track “Revelator’s Bottleneck” showed that this duo had a lot more to offer.

 

Since the release of their debut EP, they have been busy on the road spreading the word about their music. VOLK are artists who thrive on the energy from performing live and because of this, their sound has evolved to what they describe as a “mix of high- octane rock n roll, classic country swagger, and heart-wrenching soul”.

 

This change in direction has resulted in new songs and a newly released EP called Average American Band.

 

You instantly notice the change to their sound with its opening track “Hats & Boots.” Reich gets things started with some infectious drumming before she is joined by Lowe’s bluesy guitar riffs to deliver a rock n’ roll party. The energy given off by these two is impressive and demands attention. Same goes for Reich’s vocals, which share memorable lines such as “He’ll wear a smile for your mother and a pistol for your father / Slip a Franklin in the offer but it’ll cost the preacher’s daughter.”

 

Average American Band from VOLK is thunderous rock n’ roll fun and it’s awesome!

 

The pace slows down with the intro to the track “Land of Toys.” Its dreamy atmospheric tone builds up before they deliver a sassy little number. There is some more great work on the guitars from Lowe, but it is Reich’s vocals that steal the show. This song feels like a bridge between their old sound and new.

 

“January,” with its roaring combination of drums and guitar, grabs your attention from the get-go. However, the remainder of the track on first listen may not stand out as much. But don’t be fooled, there is something about this track that is difficult to describe. It gets better with each listen and before you know it you’ll be singing along to the line “Well when the rain’s coming down harder than it’s ever before”.

 

 

“Honey Bee” ends this release with a bang. Its playful nature is clear to hear from the opening lines “I’m waiting for my one true love / to come and set me free / from my own loose hands, one night stands / and the evil running free.” Towards the end, there is an improvised preaching style that gives this track more clout. The infectious energy pumping throughout this song is what makes this duo stand out and why people need to be aware of what they do.

 

Average American Band is an impressive EP that leaves you wanting more. Hopefully, they won’t make their fans wait too long before their next release. VOLK has teased that they have got more up their sleeves, but they are not willing to share at this moment in time.