Even without taking the superb vocal harmonies in “Chicken Fingers” into account, there’s no getting around the appeal of the string play in The Roughhousers’ most recent release, which has a good chance of turning on Americana buffs everywhere this late summer season. While Grey DeLisle and Eddie Clendening declare their love for deep-fried poultry in no uncertain terms in this track, it’s their fretwork that forms the most exciting element for listeners of all ages – many of whom are ranking them among the smartest children’s music duos actively recording in the lower 48 right now.
There’s a lot of punch to this beat, but the melodic componentry within the mix is able to withstand it just fine. I never get the impression that The Roughhousers are stacking the deck behind the board, but instead recording a sound as boldly colorful as what we would hear in an in-person performance. If they’ve got this kind of charisma in the studio, one could really get behind a live show where they could do anything that the audience responds to, from covers to instrumental embellishments that wouldn’t have worked in the radio-friendly setting they’re employing here.
As far as the arrangement is concerned, “Chicken Fingers” sports one of the more meticulous setups I’ve encountered in a song that was made specifically for kid audiences, and it shows us just how much of an affinity for the intricacies of composing both of these very talented musicians have. The Roughhousers are benefiting from their musician’s musician profile in this piece, and every other they’ve made to date, and it’s hard to see that changing as long as they keep producing with the kind of momentum they’ve got in a piece like this one.
I might be a little older than the average listener who enjoys “Chicken Fingers” is, but I’m just as excited as anyone else to hear what this band is going to be recording as they get into their next chapter. They’re a rockabilly force to be reckoned with, and their manipulation of tempo has become one of the most endearing parts of their sound. No matter how fast or slow they happen to be going, this is a pair that knows how to put a narrative to music, and I have a feeling that we’ve only begun to witness what their connection can do when it’s given the right outlet to be appreciated.