Churchwood: Hex City (Saustex)

Hex City

Pulitzer prize winning film critic Roger Ebert once said that the best movies are those that – figuratively – start in one place and end in another. It’s the journey that makes the experience so meaningful for the audience. On their album ‘Hex City’ Churchwood puts this idea into play.

They’re very progressive, these ten songs. Just listening to them—based solely on their sounds—develops an undeniable interest to see them live on stage. The music they create is, without a doubt, unique. It’s like a roughly-hewn form of blues, but is also an experimental, free-style event. The core elements are there—awesome guitars and runs—but they add elements almost unheard of in the genre. At points there is screaming and growling and an all-around Transylvanian vibe. At other moments it’s a hard constant push with the smoothness of Kaleo or Johnny Lang. A few parts even sound as if they are channeling of the raucous energy of something in the shade of the Insane Clown Posse. Churchwood is all over the place, but in a good way.

These guys have decided to overstep the conventional and just follow where their talents take them. Some tracks are deserving of bright, flashy lights, some for a dark stage lit by a single candle, and some should be performed while bathed with seedy, red, bloody illumination. Churchwood does an awesome job of taking their music to the limit and taking one step further.

Because the buffet of sound falls along a whole spectrum of interests, the music is neither good nor bad; the collection is an experience and the songs are merely a medium for the talents and creativity. There is a worthy freshness herein taking on the genre establishment. They certainly have a baseline, but staple other interests to it that, ironically, make the baseline even stronger. To take genres of polar opposites, and add them to your own style to successfully make it better is a difficult feat these fellas have mastered; they seem equally comfortable in any outfit they are wearing.

Even with all these stylistic lenses, this music isn’t for everyone, especially if you are looking for emotional attachments and resolutions. Churchwood entices and thrills our appreciation of form and the pliable limits of acceptable structure. For the fans, it isn’t what they are playing, but how they are playing.