Burlington rock trio Sons of Dawn play music that evokes used Lotto tickets and leaky dumpsters. Guitarist, vocalist and chief songwriter Michael Tonn says his tunes contain a strong "redneck folklore element." Think Paul Bunyan on malt liquor.
Backing Tonn on this disc is drummer Joey Adams, who also plays with the Cave Bees, and psychedelic cowboy Mickey Western - here assuming the stage name Matthew Minor. What they lack in proficiency, they more than make up for in cantankerousness.
"Linwood" opens with brusquely strummed acoustic guitar and lightly distorted vocals, soon joined by gritty electrics and pounding percussion. The licks are in the wrong key and the rhythms are iffy, but for meathead rock, it's not bad.
Subsequent track "City of the Damned" features vocals that sound like a cross between Alice Cooper and a local barfly who caterwauls to power ballads on the jukebox. It should be noted that the recording quality is sub-par, but this actually adds to the overall shit-shack ambience.
My favorite cut on the disc is "Knucklebones." If the Damned and Foghat had a baby in a dirty bathtub, it'd likely sound like this. Which is to say, pretty freaking ugly.
"Beautiful on Fire" is the closest thing here to a ballad. "You look beautiful on fire," Tonn growls over crusty guitar and rumpled bass. The song might not be prom-worthy, but it'd sound perfect in some Northwestern punk dive.
The disc closes with "Big Heavy Soul," another outlaw anthem that borrows its hook from an unlikely source: Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus." But it sure as hell ain't poncy. "I've got a big heavy soul / Drinkin' whiskey by the river," Tonn warbles. It sounds like they've been drinkin' something. My guess is formaldehyde.
Sons of Dawn are lowdown, ornery and don't seem interested in making friends. For that, I salute them.