250 word album review: Til Willis & Erratic Cowboy – Dirtflowers

Til Willis & Erratic Cowboy - Dirtflowers

“Dirtflowers” is the latest release from the incredibly prolific Lawrence, Kansas trio Til Willis & Erratic Cowboy and they continue to push the boundaries of their own music. The music here shares a lot with many bands and songs but its makeup as an album is one all its own.

The scratchy-voiced Willis starts the album with the slow burning “A Better Depression” before the band kicks hard on the anthemic “American Questions” where the chorus of “why won’t you love me?” rings loud and firm. The album is carefully structured around such keystone songs as this and the equally impactful “Sons of Decent Children” with some thinkers carefully slipped in-between. The band can be(forgive me) erratic and noisy at times but also create greatly structured pop landscapes like on “When It Happens.” The latter being one of several political nods on “Dirtflowers,” the album seems to be equally socially conscious and personal. The most impressive part of the record is the diversity of the songs and how carefully a listening experience is structured between the guitar dissonance on songs like “Sleep Driving,” the folk-rock push of “It’s A War” and the hard edge of the rockers present here like “Sons of Decent Children.”

“Dirtflowers” is another album in a long line from Til Willis including a handful from this outfit(Erratic Cowboy) but this album feels very careful and attentive. The music and songs are better for it and it seems clear that this is Til Willis and company’s best work yet.

Key Tracks: “American Questions” “Sons of Decent Children” “When It Happens”

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