THE DOZENS return to the airwaves with the follow up to their critically acclaimed 2015 EP. Their newest release, “TEST” expands upon their swampy, southern R&B roots while also exploring new musical and lyrical territory for the band. A harder, yet soulful edge emerges from each new track showing a band more determined than ever to get their long form live show condensed and captured on tape. The powerful opening track TIDAL WAVE is as literal as it is figurative. Shelley Butler’s vocal fury builds and drops into a sudden halt until the DOZENS' trademark dual lead guitar lines ride out with Steven Butler’s thundering drums. TOOK A WALK features a reflective side of the band with swirling keyboard textures from Dan Hocter while HAVE A HEART inspires with an uplifting and deep message against a vintage R&B bass line from Brent Irvin. BATTLE SCARS reflects Butler’s introspective and self-affirming lyrics against an energetic rhythm section. Classic New Orleans grooves and straightforward rock are both presented with CHASE ME while THE END allows the guitar section of Travis Posey and Chip Dews to explore instrumental avenues with extended solos and layers of guitars. The final track, SOME KIND OF VOODOO, dives into swamp blues with acoustic slide guitar on top of a sparse but soulful vocal from Butler.
Pot-luck R&B, hippie-rock, skeleton blues, country-funk and candlelit balladry surface on The Dozens’ sophomore EP, “Test.” The North Alabama/Tennessee Valley band cut the seven-song release on analog tape at Decatur’s Clearwave Studios. Jeremy Stephens recorded “Test” and co-produced the record with The Dozens. Standout cuts include opener “Tidal Wave,” writhing with jungle grooves, wah-wah guitar and front woman Shelley Butler’s river-flow vocals. (The Dozens’ lineup also features drummer and Shelley’s husband Steven Butler, guitarists Travis Posey and Chip Dews, bassist Brent Irvin and keyboardist Dan Hocter.) Allman-esque slide skids across “Have a Heart” and “The End,” while silver Hammond organ swirls pool on “Take a Walk.” A boogie coda gooses “Chase Me.” “Some Kind of Voodoo” closes the EP with an acoustic dirge echoing classic Black Crowes hidden-track "Live Too Fast Blues/Mercy, Sweet Moan." Fans heartbroken about the Crowes going kaput - or just fond of Gov’t Mule concerts and old Delaney & Bonnie records - will find solace in this soulful set.
Marty's review: all elements of roots music abound on this impressive EP release from The Dozens. From blues to soul to funk and groove, all bases are covered here for an entertaining and exhilarating ride on this 7 track collection of outstanding tunes. With Shelley Butler's soulful vocals up front backed up by polished and professional group of musicians, this will please roots music fans, particularly if you're fond of southern blues-rock.