Listening to the new album, Drive Til U Die, by Hymn for Her, it’s hard to believe that all that great, textured psychobilly sound is coming from just two musicians. The duo,Lucy Tight and Wayne Waxing, share vocal leads and harmonies. Her angelic alto and his earthy, growly baritone merge in perfect yin/yang synergy. More impressively, Wayne plays multiple guitars and banjos while simultaneously stomping a mean kick drum. And Lucy plays a one of a kind, custom made, three string, cigar box guitar. Perhaps that’s only fitting, because this band smokes!
Combining Indie Rock power chords with Outlaw Country attitude, Hymn for Her defies easy categorization, but creates a dazzling and distinctive sound. Imagine equal parts Southern Culture on the Skids, New Pornographers, Waco Brothers, Joan Jett and a splash of The Mamas and the Papas, and you’ll come close to capturing the diversity of musical influences in “Drive Til U Die.”
Just to highlight a few gems, “Shine” captures the spirit and spunk of a live Southern Culture on the Skids performance. “Devil’s Train” is a swampy, bluesy number that name drops Hayes Carll, but ironically sings, “Rock and roll is all we know, but will we get out alive?” even as it incorporates Blues and Funk right alongside the crunchy, Rock & Roll chords. “Hi Ho Silver” creates a psychedelic soundscape with a generous helping of wa wa pedal. “Milkweed” is another trippy Hippie song with Folky vocal harmonies. “The Road Song” is a bluesy, hard rocking, harmonica driven ride as wild as a runaway train.
But Lucy and Wayne also slow down for the occasional ballad. “Onebigachinheart,” is a beautifully, tender Folk/Country acoustic song. Singing, “Everybody misses somebody. The whole world is one big achin’ heart,” they remind us that there are some experiences that we all share. And in doing so they remind us of our common humanity. That’s no small feat in this age of divisiveness.
From beginning to end, “Drive Til U Die” is a scenic and sometimes surprising, musical road trip. So buckle up and enjoy the ride.