Phoenix (US) based band, The Bellwethers, asked us to review a couple of songs from their 2018 album, Schizonphrenic Zen. Here’s our thoughts on “House Of Cards” from the Send Me Your Ears studio today.

House Of Cards starts with a great rock build with guitar stabs and building drums. The energy and excitement are immense at this point, and it’s hard not to be swept along. This must be an amazing song to perform in a live situation.

Schizonphrenic Zen is a collection of songs based on Lewis Carroll’s, Alice In Wonderland.

When the vocals come in, they’re gritty, gravelly and intense. There’s some great use of subtle harmonies in the choruses.

The drumming on this track is superb. There’s some great use of bell ride cymbal on occasion as well as some really creative and exciting fills. We also like the tightness of the guitar and bass following the same melody line in the verses.

The stabs with guitar and drums return, the same as the introduction, and build intensely into a superb blues rock guitar solo. The second half of the solo is in half time and we all sat nodding our heads and grooving along. We loved the extremely subtle use of hammond – noticing it most in the breaks where you catch just a hint of tremolo.

There’s some truly great musicianship in this band. They’ve been together since 2010 so it’s pretty clear that they’ve gelled well and read each other musically. Reminding us in places of early Rolling Stones, perhaps, the power of this track is intoxicating.

From a production perspective, we felt that the track could use a little more in the low end. A boost around 55Hz for a little more thump in the kick drum followed by a boost around 125Hz to bring the bass in a bit. A boost around 250Hz for extra warmth in the track and a wider boost around 500Hz to fill the overall sound out. A boost around 5kHz would also give the track a little more presence and definition.

We’re very excited to have been introduced to The Bellwethers and urge any fans of that classic blues/rock style to take a listen. You won’t be disappointed!