There is more fact than fiction in the explanation offered up by the frontman of Desert Noises, an addictive new indie rock foursome hailing from the unlikely cityscape of Provo, Utah. Almost everything about the band fell together, including its name.
Henderson said the name came to him in a dream and he quickly wrote it down on a piece of paper. He had some paper bedside because the occurrence is common enough. Many songs, he says, are teased out of dreams — the same ones that inspired him to leave behind being a business analyst for a multi-million dollar skin care company and his wife. From there, the rest just seemed to fall together too.
Desert Noises makes an escape and invites everyone along.
When Henderson set out in his van three years ago, he wasn't alone. He was joined by bassist Tyler Osmond, guitarist Patrick Boyer, and drummer Brennan Allen. For the past five years, the four of them have spent the better parts of their days writing and road-testing songs for a proper re-debut.
They eventually cobbled together enough material to work with producer Nick Jodoin (Black Rebel Motorcycle Club) at Sonic Ranch Studios in El Paso, Texas. The theme centers mostly on what the four of them had done — found 27 ways to leave behind everyone they knew to become a band.
The live session video, captured last year as part of the Provo Concert Series, shows off the softer, more contemplative side of the band that has become heavier and darker since their self-titled debut EP in 2009 and first full length in 2011. The track, called Angels on the album, also makes it apparent that the band isn't afraid to wear some influences on their sleeve.
The opener Grandma Looks plays the same way. It starts as a road trip track before dipping into a Grateful Dead jam. It's their proclivity to thread contrasting transitions from radio-friendly Americana to psychedelic rock and back that makes their music as addictive as it is unpredictable.
The Grateful Dead isn't an exclusive nod in the album. The band cites everyone from Tom Petty and Led Zeppelin to Mumford & Sons and Tame Impala as mix-worthy influencers. It is often how they weave all these elements together that creates a uniquely listenable sound.
Additional highlights from the sophomore album 27 Ways.
There is no real order to find the most memorable tracks on the album. Out Of My Head is vibrant start, with its folk rock drifter sensibilities. Mice In The Kitchen blends together alternative pop-folk undertones that are both haunting and longing for freedom at the same time. Follow You Out is a brooding rocker that catches Henderson in between the breakup and the escape.
Way down the listing is a slide blues ditty that adds an impromptu bounce to the album, even if it only lasts a mere 90 seconds. What The World Made takes on a country-rock vibe that hints at hitting rock bottom even if it never convincingly captures it. Elephant's Bed is a slow burner with some beautifully composed acid rock undertones.
The other tracks mostly hold up. Run Through The Woods aims to explain the need to run away from everything while Shiver, one of my least favorite, has all the right lyrics but with a pop vocal twist that doesn't play true to the sound established on the rest of the album.
27 Ways By Desert Noises Stomps 8.2 On The Liquid Hip Richter Scale.
This sophomore outing by Desert Noises plays particularly well for people who have an eclectic sense of music. Everyone else will have to pick and choose from what they've compiled here.
It might even explain why the band has received some respectable ratings but from only a limited number of fans. They receive 5 stars for 27 Ways on iTunes. 27 Ways remains unrated on Amazon. You can also order 27 Ways by Desert Noises from Barnes & Noble. For touring schedules, visit Facebook.