27 Years
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27 Years

New Ulm, Minnesota, United States | INDIE

New Ulm, Minnesota, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Alternative

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"Mr. Hartle Sessions Album Review"

The story behind the album is intriguing. The concept as a whole is all encompassing. The music is brash, innovative, and well played. This time out, Minnesota’s 27 Years decided to try their hands at a conceptual weave of rock songs based upon a truly bizarre and peculiar event as a follow-up to their 2008 release, July Skies. While the account that the album is centered upon is quite eerie, it takes nothing away from the stern, semi-progressive rock sound that flows through the album’s music.
The Mr. Hartle Sessions is based upon a 1950’s car lot owner from Minnesota named Mr. Hartle, who loved to gamble, drink, and live life to the fullest. After losing a great deal of money via his car dealership and poor business transactions, he ended it all one day by shooting himself in the basement den of his home where he kept a number of slot machines and game tables. In the 1990’s, the band’s producer and current vocalist, Lantz Dale, purchased the home, and by 2009 the band recorded the Mr. Hartle Sessions in the very room that Mr. Hartle killed himself in after having the room converted into a recording studio. The very fact that the band recorded the album in the room where its concept is based, greatly enhances the album’s dark, unnerving ambience and wonderfully gives each of the album’s tracks its own brooding appeal.
The album opens with “5 Knives,” with an ideally chilling piano-lead intro that morphs into a hard rocking, pleasingly heavy beat. Like an opening track should, “5 Knives” has an effective flow and excellent rock cadence, with punchy drum work efficiently filling in the background. There’s a slick merger of vocalist Lantz Dale’s singing and his brash guitar lines, helping to initiate a sound environment of story and song. “The Bullet Doesn‘t Bleed,” with its obvious titular significance, sparks an approachable introduction of piano and strong vocal work. A radio-friendly ballad of sorts, the tune harbors a strong Bon Jovi feel which melds into a frenzied array of drum and guitar intermingling, proving the band can adapt and adapt well to other song styles.
“Dead Sunshine” is an all-out rock blast, set afire with fervent singing, coarse but amicable guitar fluency, and more splendid drumming from Sam Nilson. If anything, this track highlights the group’s electrifying energy and solid rock foundation; hooky and edgy, firm and unyielding, with direction and well-played grandiosity. “Dreams” soars with an appealing mélange of drums and instrumentation, with another great vocal output from Dale. The song’s attractive rock pulse, married with an explosive chorus rings up another comparison to the sound of a rock-infused Bon Jovi, but with plenty more bite and color.
Clocking in at over six minutes, “The Final Opus” is a musically stout example of how 27 Years can affix themselves to any song style. The tune is slow in nature, but has fantastic background swaths of keyboard, bombastic drums, and gritty guitar, all pulsating with professional rock appeal and a wonderfully passionate formula that works without effort.
As a whole, The Mr. Hartle Sessions holds well together as an excellent rock-slash-progressive rock offering. The instrumentation meanders and splashes about without losing any of the band’s hard rock tones, while the vocal output, from heavy to ballad-like, is one of the album’s strongest attributes. There are many musical flavors to taste on this album, from hard rock to metal, soft rock to AOR. The rhythms are catchy, the music is well-balanced between its bass and treble presence, and the listener doesn’t have to have background knowledge of the album’s dark storyline to enjoy the songs; they stand up solidly with their own independent, rock robustness throughout the entire album. From the concept angle, the songs do present themselves well in holding up the theme of the album without getting overly overt and apparent, which is the best recipe when creating an album of this sort. The atmosphere and feel of the album’s main idea are present somewhere within each track, even if the allusions aren’t precisely literal or stemmed directly from obvious imagery.
27 Years changed their style slightly from their last release, but the marginal change enabled the band to showcase its many strong points; sharp writing, tight playing, and the ability to infuse multiple rock styles in their music effectively. Even without the album’s interesting, small-town legend being known, The Mr. Hartle Sessions is a splendid array of layered rock music, offering a little of something for fans of all rock styles.

Review by Mike DeGagne
Rating: 4 Stars (out of 5)

Mike DeGagne - Reviewyou.com (Apr 19, 2011) - Reviewyou.com


Discography

JULY SKIES -Released April 2008

THE MR HARTLE SESSIONS-Released Dec. 2010

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Bio


27 Years is a dynamic rock group based out Southern Minnesota. The band name, 27 Years, is a testament to the great musical heros of the past who left this world 27 years young.

The band released their first record, July Skies, in 2008. They have taken their sound in a different direction with the release of their newest album, The Mr. Hartle Sessions(2011). The new record has been described as, "A rock concept album that screams sweet nothings into your ear."

The current lineup features Lantz H. Dale on Guitar and Vocals, Conrad Wachter on Cello, Wes Bollingmo on Bass and Sam Nilson on Drums.

The combination of innovative songwriting, dedicated musicianship and a powerful live show sets 27 Years apart in today's typical rock scene.

27 Years may be named after their fallen idols but even Jim Morrison once said, "Each generation wants new symbols, new people, new names. They want to divorce themselves from their predecessors." 27 Years hopes to be and do just that.