coverIf the sophomore effort is about growth, than Greg Hewlett and the band are standing tall as giants on their new album, Coulda Swore.

Energy defines the LP. Take a song like “4,” where every player is really bringing it with pounding, driving, utterly unlazy basslines, some wild hi hat work and drumfills, innovative vocal work that bends the voice into the territory of being an instrument in itself, and there’s some great guitar work as a nice polish on an already great track.

Songs like “4” and “Seance” feel like, and are as good as, a song off one of 2015’s best rock albums, Wavves x Cloud Nothings.

The album as a whole sounds all its own though, borrowing the best tricks from genres as disparate as punk and whatever breed of busy rock Built to Spill do. The band is really clicking on this album too – it’s got more chemistry than a science lab.

While the first Boat Haus album, and their first year on the music scene, was enough to win them The Overcast’s “Breakout Band of the Year” trophy, Few Too Many Moons felt like an exciting new project, still coming together, whereas one listen to this new album, Coulda Swore, and you’ll swear these guys have been writing and recording together for years.

Every part of every song comes together so well, and Noah Bender’s basslines are relentless and add so much drive and punch to Hewlett’s already driving and punchy songs. Dido for the lead and drums; there’s interesting and captivating lead guitar work throughout, and the drummer’s work really adds life to the songs.

There’s a commendable complexity in the song structures, the way they skate around the simple verse-chorus-verse structure with some nice pauses, builds, breaks, bridges and a general energy and unpredictability that’ll keep every song interesting, even after you’ve heard them 20 times.

The production work on the album is also consistently laying just the right touch and polish and tone on these songs to make them shine even brighter – there’s a distinct touch in the production of this album that works well for the sound, from the bit of grimy distortion on the vocals, to the way the drums are mixed (tight drums with effervescent cymbals).

Songs like “Monster Love” are just different enough from the rest to make sure there’s a sense of diversity track to track, but there’s a solid cohesion to the album as a whole, and not even a scrap of filler: every song is great.

All in all an awesome, energetic album you’ll be singing along to and telling people about. And if you see their name on a poster, get out to the show – this is the kind of music meant to be played in small bars in a town like ours.  If this is the first new local release of 2016, they’ve set the bar high.