My Son The Hurricane-Ride The Bullet-Album Review

By: Nerhys Hall

I love big, bold brass sections. Maybe a bit strange for a former flute player who spent years sitting in front of the massive tenor and also saxophone sections in concert bands, but three years in jazz band cultivated a love of all things funky.

Blend New Orleans style grooves with spitfire hip hop rhymes, funky fresh rhythms, and a bit of jazz and soul and you’ve got the basic recipe for My Son the Hurricane’s full length LP, Ride The Bullet.

Throughout the album, vocals are mostly split between male hip hop rhymes during the verses and powerful melodic female vocals for the choruses. Sometimes the male vocals are aggressive, other times more reminiscent, but they always flow like water over and amongst the instrumentals. And the layering of instruments…you feel the power and resonance of the deep low brass in your soul.

The album opens dramatically with thunderstorm sounds and cool brass effects that sound like wailing sirens. The shortest track on the album, called  “(Intro) Milhouse”, gives the listener a taste of what to expect for the next eight songs. Deep low brass resonates underneath driving drums and guitar and the hip hop style vocals sit in the middle of the mix. The second song, also the title track “Ride The Bullet”, starts with a funky guitar and an easy walking bass line that leads into a moderate tempo with a jazzy sound. The male vocals vocals speak over the instruments and saxophones add points of interest underneath the mix. This is also the track that starts the pattern of strong female vocals being used for the chorus. This song also features a trombone solo.

Another slower, more relaxed-sounding track is “Ewoks”, the penultimate and longest song on the album. It starts with call and response saxophones and the hip hop vocals carry the same idea with a strong rhythmic pattern broken up into distinct phrases. The melodic female vocals join in the male vocals and float just underneath. The song also features a lengthy instrumental section and finishes off with a delicate sounding piano. The third slower song is the fourth track “Better Than You Got It”. It begins quiet with acoustic instruments and soft female vocals. The brass and electric instruments join in and add an even more soulful sound. The male vocals sound reminiscent. A really cool point of juxtaposition is created between the two vocal styles: the male’s is sparsely layered whereas the female’s is set over the brass. A really cool trumpet solo takes over before ending with the same acoustic sound as the song began with.

Songs three and five through seven are all more upbeat songs. “Parade”, the third track, begins with slow percussion and sounds like it might continue on in a relaxed manner, but a driving baritone sax accented by a trumpet picks up the tempo. The male hip hop vocals sit in the middle of the mix and are spat out in a very aggressive way. The tempo does slow down during the melodic chorus, giving the song a really neat push and pull effect.

Track five, “Ransom Money”, while an uptempo song, has a bit of a swagger feeling to it from the male spoken vocals and enhanced by an impressive electric guitar riff, cool sax rhythms, and a really nice tenor sax solo. “Mr. Holland’s Locust”, song six, also has a bit of a push and pull effect throughout. Aggressive, quick hip hop vocals and a pounding walking bass line gives the song a bit of a hardcore edge. Some of the saxophone rhythms also sound a bit like the intro to a James Bond movie, which I love. Keeping up with the trend of aggressive, spitting hip hop lyrics, song seven, “Casserole”, starts with funk sounding percussion and guitar before the big, bold brass comes in. It is also the only song to also feature female hip hop vocals.

Ride The Bullet ends with “Hollywood”, a slower song that starts with symphonic sounds and powerful female vocals. Jazz funk brass and male hip hop vocals interject and create a stark juxtaposition. Big, bold low brass dominate the track and different instruments create points of interest and also features a guitar solo.

My Son the Hurricane’s entire album is an amazing collection of bold brass sounds. The different textures and styles that all blend together harmoniously create a solid nine track LP that is an absolute blast to listen to.

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