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HIgh Noon Saloon Reviews SBG

A decade after their formation on a front porch in a neighbouring LA suburb, and country-rock outfit I See Hawks in L.A. take a moment to reflect on their achievements, and err…. the public’s failure to recognise a hit song when they hear one.

Wryly titled, Shoulda Been Gold is a retrospective of sorts, taking the ‘non-hits’ from each of their four albums and packaging them with a few rarities and new recordings.

Rooted in sixties/seventies country-rock (Flying Burrito Brothers, Ozark Mountain Daredevils, Buffalo Springfield, etc…) with touches of psychedelia, ISHILA are a few decades late to the party. Such fashionable lateness may explain their inability to produce a hit, however it’s this refusal to modernize their sound that is likely to resonate with alt.twangers the world over, many of whom long for days gone by. Such critical success – though not paying the bills – ought to make up for any commercial failures.

Throughout their ten-year history, ISHILA have set themselves apart from the crowd with their penchant for observational humour (‘Raised by Hippies’, ‘Texarkanada’, ‘The Salesman’), drawing comparisons to Wagons, while the political and social commentary of ‘Byrd from West Virginia’ and ‘Highway Down’ highlights their serious side.

For the novice, it is barely possible to distinguish between the older tracks and the new, such is the consistency of ISHILA. For the entrenched fan however, new tunes such as the title track and opener ‘Sexy Vacation’ ought to keep you going until the next album-proper.

Raise a glass!

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