It’s been four years since their last record and a slew of lineup changes since their founding, but thankfully little has changed for Austin-based five piece The Band Of Heathens. They still cling tightly to an impressive set of musical influences, from Ry Cooder and The Band to Townes Van Zandt and Levon Helm, and as a result are one of this generation’s strongest flag bearers for Americana.
The band kicks off ‘Duende’ right with the stellar sing-along “All I’m Asking” and keep the momentum up throughout with few exceptions. They take sidetracks off the straight Americana road here and there—like on the solid, funk-soaked “Sugar Queen” and the Tom Petty/Eagles hybrid “Deep is Love” —but the band’s heart is still firmly in the folk country camp. Case in point: the pleadingly sweet “Last Minute Man” or the album closer “Green Grass of California” with its pristine slide guitar. Thankfully, some things never change.