The indie sweethearts of Houndmouth are gearing up for the release of their senior album, “Good For You” on November 5. But until then, they’ve teased us with a new EP titled “McKenzie.”
If you’re a diehard Houndmouth fan, you can probably grin and bear through their 2018 record, “Golden Age,” but most listeners lost their connection with the group with that release.
Houndmouth has a signature down-to-earth, earnest folk sound, but they lost that amid the cheap, tech-infused songs in “Golden Age.” The album was more experimental than their previous releases and the experiment was a failure. Although the lyrics were keen on discussing modern issues about feeling lost within the void of the internet and the disastrous social dilemmas it has left us with, the album flopped.
The four tracks on “McKenzie” were released throughout this year. The songs sound very familiar to their first two albums, specifically their sophomore album “Little Neon Limelight,” which launched the group into the success they know now with hits like “Sedona” and “Darlin.” “Good For You” will be the second go-around at a record after former bandmate, Katie Toupin, left the group back in 2016. It seemed like after her departure, Houndmouth lost their footing for a few years.
The title track, “Good For You” sets the tone for the album. It marks a clear return to the group’s roots in its sentimental theme and passionate energy. Houndmouth worked on this record in The Greenhouse, an old home in drummer Shane Cody’s family. The at-home recording studio features original furniture and chandeliers from the 1880s and seemed like the perfect backdrop for Houndmouth to work on “Good For You.” The house even makes an appearance in the first line of the song, “chartreuse and chandeliers / fancy that, seeing you here,” and serves as the starting place for the listener.
“Good For You” is a song about moving away from what once was, whether that is an environment or a person, and how cathartic that experience can be. The lyrics explore the feelings of aimlessness that accompany a major change in life:
“Heartbreak hotel / white lies and fare-thee-wells / I know my blinds are down / It’s getting dark now but somehow we’re still smiling / Beats the hell out of crying.”
The familiar crooning of lead Matt Myers’s voice brings old listeners a familiar sense of warmth. A live performance of the song was recorded in The Greenhouse and released on Youtube in July. It features the group in the living room of the house candidly performing on the song. The audio quality is poor, the ancient wallpaper hideous, and the guys in the group seem more in their element than ever.
Houndmouth has left their fans craving a solid release for three years now. There is no better time for them to return than now. Post-pandemic life leaves plenty of people eager to get reacquainted with life, but nearly two years of isolation have created a hungrier listener who wants more than a cheap cut of what the next pop machine has to spit out. Houndmouth plans to satiate with “Good For You.” “McKenzie” lays out the blueprint for another stellar release.