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Now Hear This: Hounds | Cattle In The Sky

I'm getting caught up on the good albums that have come out lately. Like this one.

THE EDITED PRESS RELEASE: “The story of Hounds and the St. Louis-based quartet’s debut Cattle in the Sky just may be the epitome of rock ’n’ roll success in the 21st century.

As youths, Jordan Slone and his younger brother Logan were equally precocious musicians. Essentially self-taught — Jordan is a singer and guitarist, Logan a bassist — while in high school the two assembled their first working group, recruiting longtime friend and drummer Logan Mohler to form Clockwork in 2010. Within two years, they were touring clubs and making festival appearances throughout a 30-state region, supporting notable artists such as Blues Traveler, Andy Grammer and O.A.R., peaking at 100 performances a year.

They were cast as a cute, local boy band, hustled into the studio for two albums and an EP, pushed to be more pop-centric than they wished. Logan grew tired, disenchanted, and seeing the demands on the group that lay ahead, left the trio, replaced on bass by compadre Jack McCoy. Still, after a fruitful half-decade together, the idea of maintaining the status quo as a pleasant, heartland folk troupe in the mold of latter-day One Direction or Mumford and Sons held less and less appeal for the maturing threesome. “We no longer wanted to do something just because it seemed like a good business move.”

Instead, they pivoted to a more aggressive brand of rock laced with rich and resounding harmonies. In 2019, Jordan suggested the three audition for the second season of the nationwide band competition Who Will Rock You?, a web series. Hounds survived early round hurdles, (including Jordan’s dislocated knee), to emerge as champions, scoring an artist development deal with BMG. Impressed with the band’s catalog of songs, the imprint extended the offer to include an album. In 2019, the group entered Sawhorse Studios in St. Louis with engineer Jason McEntire to begin work on the debut, but not before one more change. Refreshed and with a renewed commitment, Logan asked to return to the band. He was welcomed back, this time as the ensemble’s keyboardist. Completing the current lineup as a quartet, he brought not only another color and dimension to Hounds’ sound, but an additional voice and songwriting capability as well.

Built on vibrant, ringing harmonies and concentrated, muscular riffs, the four have crafted a forward-moving, immediate, and pulsing collection of songs ranging from greasy rumble-seat rock to up-to-the-minute, angst ridden modern musings.”