Written by Bill Whiting – [email protected]
Backyard Tire Fire’s fifth studio album, Good To Be, continues a trend that the group has long been associated with: expert songcraft complimented by a heightened sense of instrumental prowess. Like ZZ Top with a garage band ethos, Backyard Tire Fire has steadily threaded itself into the national music consciousness via 2007’s underground gem Vagabonds and Hooligans and 2008’s pop inflected The Places We Lived. Now, Ed and Tim Anderson, along with drummer Tim Kramp, have delivered perhaps their most accomplished project to date on Good To Be. Beginning with a set list favorite from the past year, “Road Song #39,” BTF exults in the funky scent that’s “sweaty and it’s ripe and it’s rock & roll.” Ed Anderson’s grungy guitar rhythms mesh perfectly with brother Matt’s bludgeoning bass riffs on the furiously humming masterwork, “Ready or Not.” Kramp’s understated drum style drives the band’s quirky acoustic melodies on “Learning to Swim.” Ed Anderson’s vocals are a highlight throughout the album, and he carries the complexities of the main chorus on “Brady” with gritty style and a road hardened troubadour’s skill. Produced by studio wizard Steve Berlin, Good To Be captures all of the strengths inherent in the sonic domain that is Bloomington, Illinois’ Backyard Tire Fire.