Album Review: Massy Ferguson “Hard Water”

Band: Massy Ferguson

Album: Hard Water

Label: Sparkle and Shine

Rating: 3.5 out of 5

By Aaron Binder

Ever since the days of the western bar fight, music has played an integral part in the tone and pace of said fights.  The popularity of such music has heavily declined since the late 1800’s.  Many music journalists thought it would make a return in the late 1970’s as Mad Max Mania swept across the globe but alas, their dreams were to be as short lived as Mel Gibson’s sanity, thanks to the infectious, hip-shaking and fear-soothing groove of disco.

Ever since that day, one oracle has been proclaiming the return of tumbleweed town style bar fight music.  Most people would call this probably fictitious man crazy, and they’d be right, but the fact remains, sometimes you just need a good bar-fight song.  That’s where twang-rockers Massy Ferguson come in. With the release of their new album Hard Water, it sounds as though they may be trying to revive the spirit of western style fight music, but in a wildly updated way.

Much of the album seems like it would be great back-country, bar-fight music.  Albeit it is much different than the blend of piano music of old, the spirit of endless country and opportunity seems to be woven directly into every song.  Lyrically it is straight-up storytelling, a bunch of country boys projecting their upbringing in a small town, the stories of passers-by and a couple unfortunate tales of loss.  Technically, Ethan Anderson’s voice doesn’t have much range, but has learned to work within what he has been given.

The music is often memorable with easy melodies and fun structure, it isn’t anything groundbreaking, but it is fun enough that you may find yourself humming a few of the better songs on the album.  They are at their best when they keep things upbeat, the first few tracks are great examples of what Massy Ferguson excel at, straight-forward rock combined with big choruses that pack in a load of instruments.
Massy Ferguson has a fun sound that goes well with those long nights that you find yourself saying hello to the sun in county lockup.  The era of western style fight music has long since left us, but the boys of Massy Ferguson have created an album that has all the spirit and feel of a good bar fight tune, sobering, titillating and just rowdy enough to keep the party rolling long into the night.

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