There’s a lot of dishonest art in the world. Art produced because a creator believes it will sell, or will be viewed as intellectual or important, or perhaps caters to an established fan base.
Whether it’s a painter squandering talent on portraits of improbably-lit cottages or a bar-bred rock band that begins trafficking in power ballads in order to get songs played over the credits of a romantic comedy, the artistic annals are filled with folk that, for lack of a more diplomatic term, sold out.
That is not the case with Hound of Goshen.
The Augusta band began, several years ago, as a vehicle for local drummer Brian Allen to step from behind the kit and into the spotlight. What it has become is something far more significant, far more courageous and far more likely to stand the test of time.
The band will celebrate the release of its album Death-Defying Feats of Sincerity with 7 and 10 p.m. shows at Le Chat Noir, 304 Eighth St., on Saturday, Jan. 28. Patrons expecting to hear a rock band play rock songs will not be disappointed, but they may be surprised.
You see, the record is something more than a set of songs collected over time. Taking its cues from sideshow ballys, prog rock bait-and-switch song structures and American indie rock circa 1989, Feats is a complex-but cohesive work that functions as well as a collective whole as any of its individual songs might. Its compulsively catchy tunes – which sonically seem to draw from era-specific source material such as R.E.M., the Replacements and, most notably, the Jayhawks – are strung together by a sideshow narrative that, while willfully obscure, underscores each song with a sense of depth, meaning and, most significantly, that aforementioned artistic honesty.
You see, Hound of Goshen is not a band built to be pure and pretty. Allen’s appeal as a singer is not, for instance, built on a foundation of technical prowess. His range is wonderfully limited and raw, forcing – or perhaps allowing – him to focus on phrasing rather than theatrical pyrotechnics. And while Feat’s story and structure are complex, there’s a certain looseness to the arrangements, a willingness to let simple three-chord truths played loud and proud do their rock-and-roll best.
Make no mistake – this is not a combination of elements that in any way sounds amateur. To the contrary, it is the sound of authenticity. And that’s something that all artists need to strive for.
Hound of Goshen has quite publically been working toward this moment – with varying degrees of success – for years and now has clearly found its formula. Here’s hoping others will follow in its wake.
WHAT: Hound of Goshen Death-Defying Feats of Sincerity album release, with Bullmoose
WHEN: 7 and 10 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 28
WHERE: Le Chat Noir, 304 Eighth St.
COST: $10; go to www.paypal.me/trixieipecac