Victory and Ruins
Artist: Massy Ferguson
Produced by: Spark & Shine
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
The Seattle, Washington quartet known as Massy Ferguson is comprised of Ethan Anderson on vocals, bass and flute, Adam Monda on guitars and back-up vocals, Tony Mann on piano and Dave Goedde on drums. Mixing country, rock and alternative music to provide a sound described roots-rock or Americana, Massy Ferguson has been going strong since the release of their 2007 self-titled EP, their latest album, Victory and Ruins, is their fifth music release and their third full-length album.
When listening to Massy Ferguson, I am immediately reminded of John Mellencamp and his early works, combining rock and roll and country with intelligent, catchy lyrics. That’s what Massy Ferguson brings to the table in this new album. Victory and Ruins starts off with the track, Hello, an all-rock track that let’s you know the members of the band haven’t let their success fool them: “Hello! It's good to see you all again, but you're really not my friends 'til you see me at the end.” In other words, we know you enjoy us, but don’t call us friends unless you go through the good and bad with us, all the way to the end of the road. Smart lyrics and words to live by.
The rest of the album is a mixture of rocking tracks, ballads and country. One country song in particular that I enjoyed is Hard Way, a story about a relationship that never seems to go easy. The song features Zoe Muth of the Seattle-based band Zoe Muth and the Lost High Rollers, an accomplished singer with the perfect sound for this track. The harmonic blending of Anderson and Muth’s vocals on this track are awesome and I hope that they join forces again in the future. Another enjoyable country track is Bring Back Something, reminding the fool who walked out on his lover that he’d better bring something with him…some sort of heartfelt gesture…if he ever wants to be let back in that door.
Much of the album deals with the struggles of relationships and living life the hard way. One of my favorite rock tracks on this album is Wrecking Ball, a tale about a man who left home and hit the world hard, slamming his way through life like a wrecking ball. The vocals are gruff and solid and the guitar riffs and percussion are slamming. Then there’s Everything’s Done, a rock track with country flavor discussing the complexities of life and the inability to go back and fix things once it has all played out. Loved the hand-clapping beat at the end of this track.
All in all, Victory and Ruins is an awesome display of Massy Ferguson’s musical and lyrical capabilities. It proves that the band can hang out with the best of the country bands and still rock out with the rock and roll bands out there. You can’t just place this band in one or the other category. That’s probably why I thought of Mellencamp after the first track. Massy Ferguson is just that good with that husky vocal delivery, great musical vibe whether rocking out or twanging country style and thoughtful, catchy lyrics. Victory and Ruins is definitely one of those albums worth taking a listen to…again and again and again.