Usually when there are two names of objects that can cause harm in a band’s name you might think the band should be heavy and brutal. This is not the case for Ninja Gun, a more southern country/folk/rock act from Valdosta, Georgia. In fact, previous to listening to Restless Rubes, I prepared myself for something loud and furious since the band name is a little tough sounding. To be quite honest, I was not in the mood to hear that type of music but I threw the CD in anyways just to give it a chance. I am glad I did.
Unexpectedly, I was treated to an amazing album with perfect blends of rock and folk satisfying my ears from start to finish. I am being honest when I say that this is one of the best underground CDs I have heard all year. It’s different, addicting, and certainly has replay value. Think of the distinctiveness of Black Keys (plus more musicians) or perhaps the Avett Brothers (minus the banjo) and you have a slight idea of the sound this band has. At times the rock is deep and other times there is a slow wandering country feel but in good ratio and not to the point where you forget who you are listening to.
Title track “Restless Rubes” has a southern hometown gentleman feel to it. This song was just the introduction of the CD and I found myself an instant fan of the band. Everything about this song seemed to fit in place from the singing to the Oasis like guitar riff in the middle of the song. It was just such a welcoming way to start.
Things picked up on the rockier “Eight Miles Out”, with a chorus and straight up guitar rock playing that was quickly jammed in my mind. “Red State Blues” followed and easily was the best sounding track on the CD as it pulled from 90’s rock but kept a distinctive edge. Lead singer J. Coody really displayed his singing style on this track and the rest of the band provided for a striking song.
Taking a different approach was “Front Yard Screamers”, a track dedicated to the band growing up in the south. This more country jam just made you want to sit on a porch and drink some ice cold, sweet tea. Another quality track was “Life Is Loud” a more rock track that escalated from folksy to rock. This song was best listened to with headphones and has the ability to make you gently shake your head in approval as you listen.
“Asking Price” had some nice harp playing going on with the nice harmonizing singing ensuring a moment of chill. “Nostradumbass” on the other hand was questionable at first and then just blasted into a full out rock song. The guitar playing really reminded me of the Raconteurs at times and it really stood out over other tracks
“Permanent Press” was another track that got lodged into my head. After listening to it a couple of times over I really appreciated the country style singing mixed with a hint of 90’s alt rock, even more proof of how original this band is. The CD closes out with “Breaking Light Of Day” which I feel is the perfect song to end such a great CD. The soft playing and singing serenades you a sweet farewell.
Seeing how engrossed I was with Ninja Gun, I was shocked to come across an old review of their earlier material from a past writer on Blogcritics.Org who entirely bashed them. I respect one’s opinion, but if you read the review there is nothing encouraging about the band at all from the pro –Tennessee writer’s standpoint and he really stomped on the community the band represents.
However, if you look at the comments below that outwardly bash of a review you will see a certain retaliation response over two years later from when it originally posted from the lead singer of Ninja Gun, J.Coody. I really got a kick out of the read and could sense his frustration with the review. This J. Coody who may be a part of Ninja Gun (you never know these days who is real and who is not) posted a lash back to the reviewer.
“If you came to our show looking for a bunch of illiterate punks in cowboy boots trying to pimp out some form of fashion, then I’m sure you were both confused and let down.”
Mind you that was just one line from a very long response to a bad review that the lead singer of Ninja Gun just happened to come across one day. At this time it is unclear what a young Ninja Gun had to offer back in the day and quite frankly I really want to know. I will be searching for their back catalog even more so now. I am interested if their sound has changed since 2005 or if the person who reviewed their early material years ago was just looking to deceive readers from honest good listening music.
All I know is this, Ninja Gun’s Restless Rubes is amazing. For an underground act this production of the CD is next to perfect. It’s not so often a CD like this captures me so. Suburban Home Records has a gem of an artist on their hands and with some luck you can too.
Video of the band rocking out at Suburban Home Records 13th Anniversary weekend this past September: