Three Man Cannon
Will I Know You Then
Release Date: November 6, 2015
Sometimes reviews write themselves. Albums sound like X, Y and Z and everything fits exactly where they should be and the words just flow. Other times, reviews are more difficult to write. How do you describe a band that manages to combine elements of punk, jazz, folk and shoegaze together and doesn’t sound a thing like Havalina Rail Co. at the same time? That’s the biggest problem I have with reviewing Three Man Cannon’s Will I Know You Then, it sounds like so many different things and yet it doesn’t really sound like any of it. I guess if you took Neil Young, My Bloody Valentine, Koufax, Ester Drang, The American Analog Set and Fleet Foxes and put them together you might have something that sounds like Three Man Cannon but only if you really took some liberties getting there. This is not a band that is indescribable, but their method of taking multiple influences and putting them together into smart smarmy post-indie rock concoctions sets them apart in a scene that is increasingly becoming more and more derivative.
Coming in at 6 tracks and 34 minutes, Will I Know You Then is the perfect length for a 12”. To me the best track on the record is the sprawling 8 minute long “Now Nothing” that closes the record out. Vocally it’s got a bit of a southern honky tonk swagger and the piano work fits that vibe as well, but the song really takes flight after the vocals end when the band just lets loose for a few minutes. It’s the moment that the rest of the record is begging for, but Three Man Cannon shows the maturity to only allow them to be indulgent at the end of one track.
Will I Know You Then’s opening track “Honest” reminds me a bit of Ester Drang or The War on Drugs but with more confident and bold vocals. Even though Three Man Cannon is from Scranton they have a Midwestern swagger that fits them nicely. All four tracks that feature Matt Schimelfenig singing are strong and adventurous in all the right ways.
Three Man Cannon’s drummer member Pat Brier is equal parts my favorite and least favorite thing about Three Man Cannon. His steady drumming style reminds me a ton of Mark Smith from the American Analog Set. There are no frills to this drumming style and it fits the music perfectly. On the other hand, his vocal delivery is just not something I enjoy at all. I get that he’s trying to do something different and stretch some boundaries by varying his vocal delivery, but in my opinion “Coma’d” features such adventurous guitar lines that alternate between jazz and shoegaze that it really doesn’t need his vocal performance. His other track “Mood” features a bit less offensive of a vocal performance, and it fits the darker tone of the song better.
Will I Know You Then is not perfect but it’s an excellent record. Three Man Cannon are obvious veterans who are not afraid to explore man different directions in their sound. This record may not be something you love at first listen, but the more you allow it to grow on you the more amazing it becomes.
Reviewed by Rob 1340