Dustbowl Revival put themselves on the map with their faithful, energetic (some would say explosive) execution of roots music. Sprinkled with brass and strings and topped by gang harmonies, theirs is music for millennial hoedowns, or those who say y’all on the Venice boardwalk. They’ve made four albums of reliably uplifting music, salve for the wounds of daily life.
Their fifth, “Is It You, Is It Me,” comes out Jan. 31. And speaking of wounds, its recurring theme is unity — specifically, about how overcoming divisiveness means having a conversation (in relationships and from a broader point of view), even if it ends like the one in “Enemy”: “I could never be your enemy / But now I just can’t be your friend.”
Musically, the album edges incrementally away from the traditional sounds upon which the Revival was built. The sextet — Zach Lupetin, Liz Beebe, Connor Vance, Ulf Bjorlin, Josh Heffernan and Matt Rubin — made the album with producer Sam Kassirer (Josh Ritter, Lake Street Dive, Langhorne Slim). The band’s knack for nimble orchestration, soaring vocals and quirky arrangements remains intact, but like many an artist whose starting point was straight-up Americana, the sextet sports a little bit more of a pop glow here.
Suffice to say those subtleties aren’t likely to be noticeable in the band’s revivalesque live shows. Fans who commit the Dustbowl Revival’s buoyant choruses to memory will still feel like one of the gang.
||| Stream: “Dreaming,” “Runaway” and “Mirror”
||| Live: Dustbowl Revival headlines the Troubadour on Feb. 29, with Jared & the Mill opening. Tickets.