The worlds of Country and Hip Hop don’t often meet, but Country Rocker and producer Shooter Jennings and acclaimed rapper Yelawolf have teamed up to create their eponymous debut as a duo Sometimes Y (Slumerican). As you would expect from such divergent backgrounds, Sometimes Y is an eclectic record that is largely rock but takes many a wide and varied detour.
The album-opening title track typifies this, after an electronic intro not too dissimilar to Van Halen’s 1984, it transforms into a feisty rocker with rapid fire vocals and an dirty, infectious riff. This gives way to the sunny side up rootsy rocker ‘Hole In My Head’, with a delightfully soft melody and an army-like refrain of “go left, go left, go left, right, left” that is now firmly lodged in my head. The hookiest moment here is ‘Radio’, an eighties AOR type track about a coke-loving party girl that The Night Flight Orchestra would be proud to call their own.
Another such hook fest is the effervescent slice of power-pop ‘Make Me a Believer’, an emphatic radio friendly single that brings to mind The Cars. This captures the record at its best, bright, catchy and compact rockers full of differing influences. Alas there are a few missed notes, the melancholic, folky rap song ‘Shoe String’, whilst a good display of Yelawolf’s deft lyricism, is a bit of a non-starter musically. The family friendly ‘Fucked Up Day’ is an eclectic track, with big, thunderous drums straight from the Phil Collins playbook, an electronic feel, melancholic acoustic guitars and a soaring, Guns n’ Roses solo – all good bits individually, but put together too disjointed and unbalanced.
Before this though, is the lovelorn ‘Catch You on the Other Side’, a change of pace that works wonderfully – a sweet Beatles like piano ballad with a slight country twang to it. The curtain closer ‘Moonshiner’s Run’ starts off in a typically unique fashion, a hillbilly talking about moonshine is the introduction to some high voltage, Volbeat-style rock n’ roll – with an alternative breakdown in the middle giving way to a bellowed “fuck you” and blistering solo.
Two very different musicians have created an eclectic album, full of catchy choruses and melodies done in a varied yet engrossing manner.
8 / 10