What song have I listened to most this year? Without a doubt it’s “Pork” by Americana revivalists Sangre Luna. The West Chester based foursome released their debut album, “Stomp & Shake EP”, in March of this year, and they’re currently working on the follow-up.
The album opens with a song that could easily come from Jack White’s catalogue, but Sangre Luna puts enough of their own spin on the blues rock tune so as to not be thought of as aping The White Stripes or The Raconteurs. Given the song’s energy, it’s easy to ignore the lyrics’ rejection of self importance, and maybe that intentionally serves the song’s message. The narrative could be compared to “Dust in The Wind” by Kansas, but whereas Kansas’s song brings up connotations of funerals, Sangre Luna composes a ballad that’s more befitting a party.
Abby takes the lead on vocals in this song, and it works really well for the band. Having multiple vocalists really allows a group to diversify its sound. “Null” begins slowly before building into a powerful chorus that displays bassist Tom Zartler’s experience in the recording industry. Tom actually joined the band when they were recording their EP at his studio in West Chester.
What is there not to love about this song? It’s incredibly catchy, and features some interesting tempo changes that prevent it from ever becoming formulaic. The mix is perfectly crafted and, once again, Tom’s recording ability becomes apparent. After a couple of listens, it has become clear that Mike’s lyrics seem to have a habit of presenting anger underneath their addictive hooks. Interestingly, “Pork” doesn’t follow the Orwellian perspective, and casts the oppressed as the pigs instead.
In case the song’s title didn’t give you an idea of what to expect, “Steel City Blues” is masterly designed to pay tribute to the blues and Americana musicians that clearly influenced Sangre Luna. This is another track that benefits from Abby’s vocals. She really makes you believe that her grand daddy was an old coal miner, and the drums, which are great on the whole album, push the song as though they were a locomotive.
This is a great example of the “less is more” concept, and it’s a really fun way to end the album. The song makes me feel like I’m listening to Vera Lynn at the dance from Back To The Future. It also features Mike backing up Abby perfectly, which creates a very strong harmony.
Fortunately, this is just the beginning for Sangre Luna, and we’ll certainly meet each other again.