Review: The Needy Sons "Vis-A-Vis"

One of my favorite bands of all time is Buffalo Tom. The main voice behind them, literally and figuratively, is Bill Janovitz. While BT still releases albums (all too infrequently), Janovitz keeps himself busy with other projects (like the excellent Fireworks on TV! and Walt Whitman Mall).

Janovitz’s latest project is The Needy Sons, a four-piece with Mike Gent, Ed Valauskas, and Eric Anderson. They released an EP last year, and have finally put out a full length album.

I am enjoying it greatly.

My favorite aspect to all of Janovitz’s music is how wonderfully catchy it is. Whether it’s a crashing rock tune, a ballad, or something in between, his stuff is easy to sing along to, and invites pushing the volume limits on your speakers.

There’s grittier edge to the Needy Sons sound and songs than most of Janovitz’s previous work. Perhaps it’s the crunchier guitar distortion, or how some of the songs take on a darker tone.

A through-line through the album though is energy. Most of the songs really move, with three needing less than 3 minutes and four needing less than 4. It’s hard to make a short song really compelling, yet they pull it off. Another band that came to mind was The Vaccines, which has a similar high-energy sound and style. The Needy Sons, however, inject a bit more blues into their music than the Vaccines. Somewhere between a roadhouse blues band and the latest discovery on a college alt-rock station.

The first track is one of my favorites. It’s filled with a driving energy that many of the tracks share. It's moody, bluesy-rock with a big distorted guitar sound.

Later in the album “Red Line” is a bit more upbeat-sounding. The guitars wail, Bill nails the high notes, and it rolls into a fantastic fast romp.

Or the windows down, road-trip playlist "The Wheels Are Taking Care of the Road,"

Like I said, I’m enjoying it a ton and if you’ve liked the above tracks, you’ll dig the rest of the album too.

You can buy Vis-à-vis wherever you usually buy music, like Amazon and iTunes, or you can get it on the Needy Sons’ Bandcamp page.