2/3 Goat proclaims that they aren’t “your average farm band” – with the hodgepodge of pop-rock and folk that makes their CD, Up The Mountain, maybe that’s a good thing.
The five-track EP begins its climb with the upbeat “Tunnel Vision.” Highlighting lead singer Annalyse Mcoy’s country soprano, her voice proves to be an innate match for the band’s uncomplicated bluegrass instrumentation. Her fluttery twang swoops into falsetto in all the right places and makes for an enjoyable bluegrass tune.
But as soon as Up The Mountain sets itself up for a bluegrass-fueled trip across Appalachia, the EP stumbles through the borderline-hokey “Satisfied.” When the bass and mandolin fade into the background and Ryan Dunn takes lead on the vocals, the song trades its bluegrass flavor for formulaic and predictable alt-rock. It’s jarringly out of place.
The choice to include what boils down to a Dave Matthews Band track sandwiched between two decent bluegrass ballads really hurts the album’s cohesion. The band advertises itself as “fusion” – the word they were looking for was “confusion.”
2/3 Goat is by no means a bad band; McCoy’s voice is downright impressive and tracks like “Stream of Conscious” and “The Way” prove that the group has a good understanding of bluegrass. But the band hasn’t fully made up their mind on where they want to go.
Dunn’s musical input is the culprit: the album hits a fatal snag on its closing track, “Runaround Sue.” Dunn’s voice takes the lead again with a simplified blues rhythm and zero creativity. It’s well produced and Patrick Shaw’s bass is especially snappy, but in light of the other inventive folk songs on Up The Mountain, “Runaround Sue” is just boring.
The album is strong evidence that 2/3 Goat can’t have it both ways. If bluegrass and pop-rock can mix, they don’t on this EP. The band quite frankly needs more McCoy and less Dunn.
Learn more on the group’s MySpace page.