Jacksonville’s local music scene doesn’t exactly have a shining reputation. The most successful artist to come out of the city in the last 20 years is Limp Bizkit, and today we play host to a school of middling indie rock bands.
When I was asked to review an EP from another local band called Herd of Watts, I was expecting exactly that. Instead, I got the funk, the whole funk, and nothing but the funk. Or more accurately, “jam and funk” or Junk, as the band call their style. They play the kind of music you might hear at a lower-prestige music festival, or in a bar, or in the early 1970s opening for the Grateful Dead. Both funk and jam bands have been around since then, and they’ve largely been mined out in terms of originality.
This EP is no different, and especially fails lyrically, incorporating all the conventions of blues with none of the authenticity. I can give the band kudos for bringing something else to the local music scene, but I can’t overlook the fact that it’s not very good.
Of course, there’s no point in me needlessly panning their music. Maybe it’s just not my thing. Obviously there’s an audience for this type of thing, otherwise they wouldn’t bother recording. Unfortunately, I don’t think Herd of Watts is going to find that audience at UNF. So let me give a few tips to the band to make their stuff a little better:
- Improve your lyrics. Spice up your language. Don’t be afraid to get weird or surreal–it might just make people listen.
- Get experimental with the music itself. People generally watch jam bands because they want to hear something to zone out to, so that might be a direction you want to explore.
- Record something from a live show and put that on your next release. Give the people an idea of what they’re missing in the studio recording.
I can tell that Herd of Watts is the type of project that isn’t trying to break out as the next big thing. They’re an inoffensive bunch of guys who like playing music that they think people will enjoy. A noble pursuit, but not one that will garner shining reviews. Keep on truckin’, fellas.