As Beasts of Burden's title implies, Workhorse, which joins Front-side Five and Pitch Invasion at the Bluebird Theater on Friday, November 30, is no pretty filly. Rather, it's an animal willing to do the heavy lifting — emphasis on "heavy."
"Moonshine Mayhem," the first track, opens with modified calliope music that's a mere prelude to the guitars of Randy Olinger and Jay Ditchen, which chug, rumble and shriek with throwback authority; it's less a song than a collection of riffs that rhythm-section mates Ross Miller and Mitch Young manage to stitch together. That's followed by "Worn Out City," a brontosaurus beater overlain with Olinger's yowls, the punishingly deliberate "Right Arm of Lightning," and "Revenge of the Whistle Pig," a stoner-rock take on Southern boogie. Sooo-eeee.
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No, there's nothing particularly innovative here — not even the pace-changing lament "Ghost in the Clouds." But rather than simply trot out familiar licks, the men of Workhorse ride them hard and put them away wet.