For the third EP of his solo career, Ethan Luck has lit the fuse on a breathtaking explosion of heartland punk that the veteran musician has been building towards for quite some time. While his previous two solo EPs (Wounds & Fears and Hard Seas) have contained more intimate, roots-oriented fare built around punk and classic country influences, Ethan Luck & The Intruders boasts a loud, full-band bravado with Luck’s multi-instrumental prowess and his wide-open vocal swagger.
The five-song EP kicks off with “Leave You Behind,” a thundering romp that addresses one of Luck’s oft-visited- yet-unintended muses: his struggles with anxiety. This song is everything you want in an album opener and I absolutely love the bass tone in the dropped-out second verse, the hope-infused bridge, and the opening noise collage that brings to mind some of the more experimental influences of The Clash. “Coming Out Alive” follows suit with more huge guitars, overdriven bass, a singalong chorus, and a some really tasty organ ringing out over the sonic assault. Luck’s new version of “Damned” is up next, transformed from the rootsy sashay of the original single he released for Record Store Day this year into a Social Distortion-flavored country-punk saloon song that would’ve felt right at home on Social D’s Prison Bound. The same could be said for the barroom stomp of “Live ‘Til I Die,” a song that is more country-influenced punk than punk-influenced country (which is how I would describe his previous two solo EPs). Closing out the EP is “Long Gone,” a rumbling kiss-off of a tune with some gorgeous guitar work, a fiery solo, and some of Luck’s best gruff-voiced vocal work.
As a long-time fan of Luck’s work (both in solo work and his involvement with an impressive list of bands), I absolutely love the growth and energy that is pulsing through Ethan Luck & The Intruders. While he is truly proficient in working within a wide variety of musical genres, this punk-roots-rock hybrid seems to fit his voice, lyrics, and instrumentation in a really unique way. For this new chapter in Luck’s expansive catalog, I don’t think he could’ve crafted a better and more appropriate collection of songs. With this being his first solo release to be pressed on vinyl, I’m even more excited to hear this blasting from my speakers in warm analog come March.
Ethan Luck & The Intruders releases today through digital retails and vinyl pre-orders (set for March 2016 delivery) can be completed through superfanvinyl.com