More often than not, American bands are described by which side of the country they’re based in. Be it New York punk, west coast hip-hop, or even southern rock, each region seems to have its own niche. But what about artists in or around Ohio? Is there a Dayton sound? How about Cleveland? Sure the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame is based there but does that mean the city has a strong rock scene? Thankfully, with all the music I’ve covered from Ohio vinyl-only label Soul Step Records in the past few years, I already know I’ll enjoy most of what they release. Such is the case with The Way Out from This Pine Box.
This Pine Box began their journey soon after frontman/guitarist Jake Knight self-release a single song while still in high school. The popularity of that lone track prompted him to start a full-fledged band and This Pine Box was born.
After countless shows and a healthy following, it was time for This Pine Box to record a full-length record. The result is the Americana-meets-blue eyed soul-infused and aptly titled The Way Out. Despite being the band’s debut, The Way Out doesn’t fall victim to the trappings of inexperience. Every hook is infectious and every layer of instrumentation is meticulously thought out like a band who has churned out records for a decade. While some credit might go to John Curley of The Afghan Whigs, who produced The Way Out, but to me, the record sounds like determination.
Songs like “Composure” with its brooding heartache, isn’t made on a whim, it’s straight up experience. On the other side of the coin, lead single “Go Tell Me Now” is effortlessly sugary and fun as a summer road trip. Something has to be said about the diversity of This Pine Box too. For every track where you can’t stop the urge to sing along to, there’s a track of beautiful sadness. My favorite track “Evelyn” embodies the lush instrumentation and cool demeanor of The Thrills and a hook reminiscent of Led Zeppelin’s “D’yer Mak’er”. No, that doesn’t make sense but it’ll click the very first time you hear it. I promise.
That’s the beauty of The Way Out and This Pine Box as a whole: everything just fits.
As mentioned above, The Way Out has been released on vinyl exclusively from Soul Step Records. And while The Way Out ‘s color variants look as gorgeous as the album sounds, something dawned on me. The sound of Ohio is This Pine Box. An indie band without a marketing gimmick or media quirk, working hard to make a name for themselves on the merits of simply good music.
If you’re interesting in what the Ohio scene is all about, or even Soul Step Records for that matter, look no further than having This Pine Box as your guide.
The Way Out is now available on vinyl exclusivly at Soul Step Records.
For more info on This Pine Box, visit them on Facebook