Sometimes when you spin an album for the first time it takes you back to a familiar place. With their forthcoming release, Colorado-based Head for the Hills transports you to an intimate hillside amphitheater at sundown but Potions and Poisons also takes the time machine back to the era of the Prohibition speakeasy. The Colorado quartet offers up their unique string sound–old grass, new grass, with some soul to boot. The central theme weaves together the concepts love and death by expressing a melancholy outlook of human existence.
“Suit and Tie” tries to flip the darkness and pull a loved one from the depths: “It might be time you held your head up higher, it ain’t time to let it go.” The excellent picking in between verses lends a pleasant tone to a heavy subject. “Floodwaters,” an energetic instrumental track that features a small jam session, showcases the group’s telepathic communication, and offers a contrast to the LP’s otherwise somber tone.
“Candy, the coffee, the cocaine, the coitus. Grant us the power to stop making choices,” they sing, as everyday vices are spun out in fashion in the album’s title track. The band lends something to which everyone can relate, the power that our painful struggles and mental weaknesses hold over our lives.
“Happy” and “cheerful” may not be the best descriptors for the subjects tackled on Potions and Posions, but technical prowess, cohesive musicianship, poetic lyrics, and emotive vocal stylings make it all worth the listen. The band bares its soul on this group of tracks, which will entice and appeal to all kinds of listeners, as well as traditional bluegrass fans.
Purchase Potions and Poisons, set for release on Friday, May 12th: http://headfor-thehills.squarespace.com