An ode to all that makes American rock music so powerful, Hause's third album is packed full of enjoyable anthems.
Whilst we may be living in the most fiercely patriotic era in quite a long time, with America in particular divided nation over political, economic, and social issues, the arts still remain as important as ever. Be it Kanye West’s vacillating support for certain political figures, the 30 Days, 30 Songs movement, or southern rock stalwarts Drive-By Truckers commemorating their 20th anniversary with the highly political and critically acclaimed American Band, the nation is torn over its status and its musicians are channelling every bit of it. Yet, with Bury Me In Philly, singer-songwriter Dave Hause has created an album brimming with passion and heart for his nation, as infectiously enjoyable as any contemporary pop record yet feeling aligned to good old-fashioned American rock’n’roll.
‘With You’ bursts to life with a vivacious duel between piano and guitars driving a blues rock sound. Hause’s voice sounds as fine and smooth as any starlet should – “I need a friend right now who reminds me of my home,” he calls out over the track’s toe-tapping and feelgood sound – with the sense of American longing seeping through from the off. With ‘The Flinch,’ Bury Me In Philly‘s real standout, he laments his city and his dwelling on his past in an anthem of moving on and growing up.
More personal reflections are etched into his music also, with ‘Shaky Jesus’ contemplating religion, the faith of others, and how he could believe, of course set to zippy guitars and crisp percussion. Yet, Hause doesn’t bog himself down in this more pop-oriented sound, instead striking a more road trip-like rock’n’roll tone through the country-twanged ‘The Mermaid,’ ‘Divine Lorraine,’ and ‘Helluva Home.’ Whilst the record is a clear ode to his self and homeland, Hause doesn’t forget to have fun in the process.
It is fitting, then, that the album closes with its title track. Concluding 33 minutes that take Hause from home and across the nation, his reflection on a life away (“I never been too good at saying long goodbyes / So write me one good song and dry my sisters’ eyes / And bury me in Philly when I die”) restores the rock’n’roll sound of the album’s earlier proceedings. Here, the story, exploration, and musical diversity across Bury Me In Philly comes full circle in heartfelt fashion.
Throughout, the production and mix is refined and smooth, making Bury Me In Philly as rich an instrumental experience as it is a lyrical one. Albeit running a little too long and served a little overstuffed, the heart of the music realises Hause’s ambition and is never lost. There may be something Springsteen-esque about Hause’s sound, yet it’s his boss-like passion that really drives Bury Me In Philly home.
Bury Me In Philly is out now via Rise Records