Album Review: Larry and His Flask “Hobo’s Lament” (Score 92%)

By Mitch Planamento

At first glance, the cover of Larry and His Flask’s six songs EP, Hobo’s Lament, looks like Jack Nichloson is flipping you off—which would be hilarious if it was actually him. Moving past that, half of this six song EP is made up of older songs (“Closed Doors”, “My Name is Cancer” and “Swing”). Although it would be preferable to have more than half the songs be new, the older songs do add to this overall wonderful work of intense prose hopped up on speed, dreams and ironically played music. LAHF do not disappoint with their consistent style of smoking strings plucked to the point of breaking, percussion like a rhythmatic stomping foot gone mad, thumping bass breaking its restraints and rich, carnival sounding horns with either a gruff sounding pirate voice filled with glee or a rolling, at times gritty tenor with backup vocals.

“Big Ride” is about living your dreams before you die. Played with Prominent banjo strings, and keys that sound like they belong in a saloon, this is not a song that you stand still to. It makes you want to bob your head, tap your feet and shake your body—especially to the bright horns that play coordinated chaos and could be from the era of swing.

“Hobo’s Lament” is like a sad, upbeat waltz. It’s a sorrowful anthem filled with strings that fiddle on high notes, a marching percussion and a too softly played bass. The vocals are haunting and truly take on the style of Barbershop music, emphasizing the frustration of the loss of home, self and the sheer frustration of it all with well placed yells or lines like, “This diry city this filty city has robbed me of my soul please these lonely streets… and no place for me to call my home.”

In particular, “So Long” was really well done with its contemporary 40s style crooning melody. It’s a simplistically beautiful song about yearning for summer and the anticipation that becomes uncertain at times, “So long, so long have I wated for it to be here. So long, so long that I don’t think it’s coming this year.” The vocals, with harmonizing backup vocals at times, as well as the muted trombone(?) make the word yearning, into an actual sound. This happy-bluesy tune is the last song on this EP, a solid ending.

In case you missed it, I did an interview with LAHF this year and Alexis photographed them a few weeks ago when they were in Detroit performing with Frank Turner.

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