MCPHERSON STRUTS - HOT ROD KARMA
McPherson Struts - Hotrod Karma Released 4th November 2022 Reviewed by Kate 6th January 2023
McPherson Struts are: Buck McPherson - Vocals, Drums Jeff Freeman - Bass, Vocals Jake Hanbury - Guitars, Vocals
Additional musicians: Keith Griffin - Drums, Percussion Lynn Owsley - Pedal Steel Anna Ferguson - Horns, Keys Terry"Tadpole" Williams - Piano
Released by Rumble Road Records. Available to download here: https://rumbleroadrecords.bandcamp.com/album/hotrod-karma-ep
Do you ever look around a crowded room and think “wow, the world is actually a pretty good place”? This last happened to me on New Years Eve. My party was, by all metrics, a disaster: we couldn’t find space at any bar except a German theme pub, one guest had a phobia of my pets and I’m fairly sure someone stole my prescription from the bathroom. But somewhere around 3am in the middle of a post-punk dance-off in my living room, I was filled with a warm glow and the joy of existence. It’s the same feeling that I got when I listened through Hot Rod Karma, the latest release from McPherson Struts. This EP is the third studio outing from the Alabama-based trio, and if you’re into Supersuckers, the Rocketz or having a good time cracking a cold one with your buddies, you are going to love this.
Live at 5 - The antidote to doom scrolling, this rockin’ number is scaffolded by Jake’s two-chord special and powered by Pennywise’s backing vocals before breaking down into one heck of a guitar solo. It’s slow in all the right places and bursting with passion through Buck’s vocals, and it’s got this festival season optimism in the face of endlessly watching the news and watching society collapse.
Truck Song - It’s a comedy song, but McPherson Struts have the kind of energy that means you get the joke. A country tale about how ‘the more I learn about women, the more I like my truck’; yes, it’s an often repeated riff, but that red hot guitar and the backing vocals over Buck’s rocksteady drumming and a jolly honky tonk piano line makes it into a fun, classic country rock track. McPherson Struts are just such a fun band with a huge sound that needs to be played in a field.
Hotrod Karma - The title track open with some really satisfying slap bass from Jeff, and jumps into a classic rock road song about how acting like a fool ain’t cool. The tight, pointed chorus is sharpened by these little bursts of keys and the breakdown dissolves into a mellow saxophone adventure. It’s fantastic how, by letting the slap bass come to the fore, their sound shifts back into the past and puts a different spin on what they’re playing.
Ballad of Red Spoon - I’m a sucker for a bit of pedal steel and a tune about a no good outlaw, and this song piles up both of these things then knocks them down with a country drawl and a honky-tonk guitar solo. At nearly five minutes long it’s an epic but it doesn’t drag, and we forget sometimes that country can be such a fun genre when you dive in headfirst and embrace the cliches.
This isn’t an EP which is going to challenge your perceptions of genre, or make you think deeply about the nature of existence. It’s big, it’s fun and it’s very well done, and sometimes you just need to have a dance and hear a fantastic song about a truck. Get your cowboy hat on and be prepared to feel the warmth of humanity, and the southern sun, with this brilliant little EP from McPherson Struts.