The guys in Tonight We Ride are awesome. They’re the type of guys who have at least two hundred thank yous (including seventeen bartenders, who get their own section), thank people twice, give people nicknames in their thankyous, and stick a picture of Montana in the corner of the booklet with the phrase “Ya’ll can f*ck off we’re from montana.” I feel like I would be friends with these guys, and hearing their album Of the West only confirms that.
That carefree, fun-loving character shows through in their music as well. This is a bar band (if you didn’t catch the subtle clues from the first paragraph); imagine the Hold Steady at a hoedown with less piano and a lot more hollering. But instead of the disaffected cool that the Hold Steady cultivates, Tonight We Ride has a much more enthusiastic take on life. There’s hollering and shouting kicking off and closing several tracks, most notably “Heaven Can Wait.” It’s the attitude of goofy pop-punk bands like Last Tuesday, but applied to a much more rock aesthetic.
And that rock isn’t the hardest of rock, because this is a bar band, not a modern rock band. It’s pretty great. It’s the type of music that endears a listener to it. The imperfections of vocal tone are a great thing as opposed to a terrible thing, because it feels so real and honest and fun.
The highlights here are closer “Cash Money,” “Drink Myself into Oblivion” and “Prelude to Hell on Earth.” The first two are rollicking bar tunes, suitable to be sung along to with beer in hand and bros around. The third is a different turn, with their hoedown mentality traded for a Spaghetti Western mentality. It’s an instrumental track, and it sounds great. It’s apparently the prelude to a concept album about 2012 that is forthcoming, which has me incredibly excited.
In short, Tonight We Ride is awesome. If you like fun, energetic, enthusiastic rock’n’roll, Tonight We Ride is here to kick you in the pants and make you like it. You might just end up thanked in the next album as Joe “We kicked him in the pants and made him like it” Smith. Highly recommended for fans of Hold Steady, Last Tuesday, Riverboat Gamblers, etc.