There’s something to be said about a straight up, no bullshit rock band just plugging in and giving it some serious welly and that is exactly what Backwoods Payback do for the thirty odd minutes of Fire Not Reason, a release that finds this trio in scintillating form!
From opening number “Elephants” to the closing “California Lean”, Backwoods Payback take no prisoners and bulldoze everything that stands before them with one fuzzed up riff after another. Throughout the album the band revel in loose, earthy grooves, the kind you can imagine coming out on the much missed Mans Ruin label back in the late 90’s. In fact, it should come as no surprise to learn that ex Alabama Thunderpussy drummer Erik Larson is a part of the band, as sound and feel wise they have quite a bit in common.
That said, this is no one dimensional riff fest. In particular, “Even Odds” sees Backwoods Payback strip their sound right down to its base elements with plaintive music backing up a pained, almost fragile vocal from Mike Cummings instead of his usual bluesy holler.
To say it straight, if shit kicking rock ‘n’ roll played with fire and brimstone passion is your thing – and if not, why not? – then this should be right up your alley. Fire Not Reason is an album totally lacking in any pretence and never tries to be something it’s not. What it is, is the glorious sound of three musicians locking into a groove and playing music for the sheer love of it. 8/10