The Gourds: Haymaker!

Even those with half an ear wouldn’t mistake the Gourds for anything but a Texas band. From their sound, which is tough to describe since it has so many different elements (alt-country with creole and Tex-Mex seasoning? Hillbilly soul?), to their songwriting (with topics that run the typical Gourds subject matter weirdness: road trips, love, a guy named Thurman, unrequited love, fossils, love, Shreveport, women), this Austin-based five-piece is definitely of a place. Haymaker!, their ninth studio album, boasts more of a country sound than their last two albums, 2007’s Noble Creatures and 2006’s Heavy Ornamentals, but with the Gourds, country gets rightfully twisted to include soul, rock, swamp boogie, and a lot of the usual elements that listeners have come to expect from a Gourds album. Haymaker! thankfully is also a lot less ballad-heavy than Noble Creatures, so it naturally has a more playful feel. And while there’s nothing here as immediately stand-out as their cover of Snoop Dogg’s “Gin and Juice” – c’mon, that was 12 years ago, man! – there’s enough here for Haymaker! to be a contender for the best Gourds album yet. (Yep Roc 2009)

The Gourds MySpace page