Twisted EP (and other tracks) – The Charlie Kulis Band (reviewed by Dave Franklin)

It is clear from just the opening salvo of last year’s Twisted EP that there are some serious songwriting chops at work here. An upbeat country sound with a rock and roll edge and plenty of southern tropes colouring the tone of the music and threaded through the lyrics too. And, most important of all, its infectious as hell. Yes, Come and Getcha Some is the perfect way to kick things off.

And as we continue onward, the band continue to push the boundaries that they have set for themselves. Rock In My Shoe is low-slung, foot on the monitor rock and roll at its finest, echoing the likes of Tom Petty or even The Stones, as they put their own, individual spin on this timeless sound and the title track is a wistful, understated anthem…if that isn’t too much of a contradiction…to letting off steam at the end of the working week. Mean Ass World plays the country card with confidence and She’s Invincible is perfect cross-over, mainstream chart fodder.

With three key songwriters in the band, in the shape of Charlie Kulis, Rafe Van Hoy, and Ernie Petito, it is clear that there is no shortage of creativity and drive at work. The result is songs which are grounded in the familiar sounds of modern, urban country and timeless rock and roll but which don’t have the time or inclination to glance back, their sights are set firmly on the future.

And look beyond this EP and you’ll find all sorts of cool tracks in their musical arsenal. Made in America is a blue-collar anthem and slightly nostalgic look at the country’s industrial prowess and I’m A Man extolls the virtues of standing up for yourself and being the person that you want to be. 

Perhaps the most surprising song comes in the form of Did Anybody (Ever Tell You You’re A Fool?) a reflective and heartfelt ballad featuring Tabitha Fair’s gorgeous vocals, sung from the women’s point of view after a break up, trying to make the man realise that he has lost the best thing in his life. An equally unexpected and astonishing track and one which shows that The Charlie Kulis Band are more than just fist in the air, good time, country rock.

What these songs show is that quality songwriting is alive and kicking. The neat thing about The Charlie Kulis Band is their ability to have broad appeal without ever compromising their core sound. Rock and Roll and Country music might not be for everyone but here is a band who celebrate their love of those genres whilst creating music which could easily find its way into the mainstream too. The best of both worlds if you ask me.

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