Composed of guitarist JP French, guitarist Mike Walker, bassist Cory Segars and drummer Luke Hendershott, Chilhowee Royal is a stomping, hulking Southern psych beast. Creating muscular jams and roots-inflected rock rhythms, the band is fiercely inclusive and possesses a fervent heart and fascinating musical direction. They mix a cauldron of various influences into a bubbling mass of inspiration, resulting in some especially sinewy and brawny melodic compositions. But they’re more than the sum total of their influences-Chilhowee Royal builds momentum from a staggering rock resourcefulness, revealing a heart of Tennessee earth and elaborate riverine landscapes.
On their new two-song EP, “Cholo Choir,” the band flexes their ability to meld explosive guitar riffs with a dense percussive racket. The resulting songs echo through the deep basins of the Southeast and come to rest somewhere between The Meat Puppets and Camper Van Beethoven. These two songs expose a well-grounded emotional center around which the band constructs a layered, guitar-centric experience. Voices are exorcised and cast away while drums pound away at your chest. It’s the band’s ability to form all these sounds around a thumping, reverberating heart that sets them apart from their peers. Chilhowee Royal is working with some fairly classic noises, but they elaborate upon their history without feeling weighed down by their influences-and that is truly a wonder to witness.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.