For the most part, Shotgun Sawyer’s second album keeps up the high energy fuzz blues last seen on their 2016 debut, Thunderchief. The production is as raw as ever and song structures have an off-the-cuff vibe, giving credence to the claim that the recording was done completely live. However, when you take a step back to examine the bigger picture, Bury the Hatchet has a more orderly presentation than its meat and potatoes attitude would suggest.
While the first two tracks offer the somewhat basic rock drive that one would expect, things take a drastic turn here on out. “Backwoods Bear” makes for the album’s first curveball, offering up a folk excursion complete with acoustic and slide guitars that aren’t too far off from Led Zeppelin III. “You Got to Run” follows it up with a heavy but still fairly grounded boogie and “Son of the Morning” puts in a particularly scaled back grind, both also working to preserve that hardy twang.
But just as “Hombre” dares to pick up the pace, the rest of the album rounds itself out with some old-fashioned, mid-tempo blues bashing. “Love You Right” makes the most of that twelve-bar structure with busy bass and some of the album’s most fuzz-drenched soloing. “When the Sun Breaks” opts for a slow burn while still retaining that sense of bravado, leading me to wonder if it could’ve been a better closer than the solid but not as climactic “Shallow Grave.”
Through the musical maneuvering, the lyrics stay dedicated to classic “woman done me wrong” tropes that don’t seem to be as common as they were when their beloved 70s rock dinosaurs first walked the earth. That shift may have happened for a reason and it can feel rather antiquated at times, but this disregard arguably works in the album’s favor. You can tell the band was far more interested in rocking out than getting too deep, and that sort of boneheaded attitude somehow only makes it more charming.
Overall, Bury the Hatchet sees Shotgun Sawyer injecting some method into their brand of stoner blues madness. This is very much an album where what you see is what you get, but it avoids feeling too shallow due to the strong performances and structured song flow. It’s an endearing release with more focus than it lets on. Fans of fellow revivalists like Graveyard among others should consider Shotgun Sawyer relevant to their interests.
“You Got to Run”
“Son of the Morning”
“Love You Right”
“When the Sun Breaks”