During a recent trip to the old stamping grounds of mid-Michigan, I was given The Sinners CD. I tried listening while driving back and forth to poetry gigs, friends’ cookouts and mom’s house, but the stretches of time were too short and full of distraction to really hear. But then on my way back to Montana, I had the vast solitude of the Prairie. It proved the perfect background for really hearing what this CD has to offer.
Somewhere in the middle of North Dakota, with the moon painting marshes and casting ducks and egrets in deep silhouette, I popped the disc into my player and let it wash through the Jeep. When track 14 ended, I hit play again; eager to hear many of the tracks once more. Especially the haunting “Chimney Sweep,” the bopping “Put Me On a Shelf,” and the melodic “Burn for Candy.”
Comprised of Liam McKay on vocals and guitar, Spencer Stege on keys, Joel Choate on bass, and Brian Hansen on drums, The Sinners remind me that rock music can be vital and virile. They deftly prove that you can be bad-ass and subtly poignant from one track to the next. Heart-thumping and heart-breaking from one verse to the next.
For a debut album, the self-titled The Sinners is a great document of a band that’s staking their claim to a tradition of strong writing melded with raw yet deft musicianship. If you wish indy/alt/progressive still meant something before corporate media sunk their vacuous teeth into it, this band will smash your cynicism with a hammer of hope. And one can only hope that this is just the beginning of a long, lyrical trip.