The country music field can be fickle when it comes to big hit success. Brand-new no-name acts can burst onto the scene and shoot to playing Madison Square Garden, while long-running outfits toil in obscurity – and too often it seems like the toilers are doing better versions of what the newbies are hocking. Ha Ha Tonka deserve big-name success with their great new record, Heart-Shaped Mountain.
“Race to the Bottom” starts Mountain off on a strong note, reminiscent of the good old Kings of Leon that you remember, pressing alt-country with substance. Penultimate “Favor” is like a great Avett Brothers song, though it’s about the virtues of goin’ off the grid. And one can’t help but enjoy “The Party”, wistful about being the only one not yet married, or the absolute fun of the gritty “Arkansas” (whose title really should be “(Broke Every Law In) Arkansas”).
Who knows if Ha Ha Tonka will get fame with Heart-Shaped Mountain, their umpteenth release on Bloodshot Records. But they should.