The Builders and the Butchers have returned with another captivating round of tales about the wicked west with their latest collection The Spark. Five years of touring have led to not only an incredible reputation for ecstatic live performances but also to the inevitable and careful creation of the eleven marvelous Americana folk tracks that fill the LP. The Portland-based quintet released the era-untethered LP via Badman Recordings Co. on May 19. The eclectic sound of the group combines traditional acoustic folk qualities with a distorted modern rock twist, although there are more than just those two tricks up their more than likely plaid sleeves.
“All Turn to Fire Pt. 1” opens the album with a slow acoustic finger-picking guitar, which gives way to singer Ryan Sollee’s haunting voice. Soon thereafter the song turns inferno and we’re introduced to the full band in all their folk-punk glory, truly marking the introduction of The Spark. The sibling song, “All Turn to Fire Pt. 2,” is an Americana ballad filled with intricate lyrics that complete the tale of the two songs, as well as a lengthy soul-soothing guitar solo. “Never Tell” is a track that shows off the folk capabilities of the group. A sharp banjo twang plays through the entirety of the song, adding a subtle effect that sets the track out from the rest of the album. “Let The Wind Carry Me Home” is the elegant closer of the album and a prime example of the band’s musical range. The organ-propelled, gospel-sounding track is one of those few tracks that gives goosebumps every time it comes on. It’s barebones, but that’s where its beauty and impact derives from. A beautiful mix of fast and slow songs encompass the album, offering a variety of sounds. The band puts a multitude of instruments to use, including a clarinet, organ, and mandolin, and made sure to dip their feet into every genre that they possibly could.
The Spark is an American album for the American people, telling stories that thousands go through on a daily basis. It defies genres and offers insight into crossovers that most wouldn’t have even thought possible. Call it whatever genre you would like to, but there is no denying that this group is truly something special. The band definitely lives up to their name; they build you up with the talent and grit presented through the album, but then quickly butcher you down with the raw emotion and tactically placed stabs in the music.
Written by: Sawyer Click