Hear Knocked Loose’s softer side in guitarist’s new project, Eastwood (album review)

I have a habit of loving heavy band’s side projects more than their main band. Whether it’s the supergroup of Trade Wind or Code Orange’s outfit, Adventures, these multi-talented musicians can take on any genre they please with ease. Knocked Loose has had meteoric success, so it’s a surprise to see guitarist Cole Crutchfield dive into alt music with Eastwood. Let’s see how this project pans out in their debut, It Never Gets Easy!

The frenetic, fast pace of Knocked Loose is nowhere to be found in Eastwood. Cole fits like a glove singing in the grungey, alternative act, and exudes a hell of a lot of emotion in his delivery. The instrumentation is no slack, either. Striking guitar hooks and drum fills make verses and bridges just as fun as Eastwood choruses.

The jovial instruments juxtaposing the stressed lyricism is the formula for success in this genre, and Eastwood nails it, especially in tracks like “$2 Hamms” which takes the major key and flips it on its head with insecurity and paranoia in the lyrics. This piece also has a noteworthy guitar solo that is seamless.

Eastwood can go from a nice jaunt to a soft, sentimental song with ease, something not every band can pull off in their debut. There’s even some powerful shouts sprinkled in for good measure. Compellingly, the dropbox link I used to preview the album included a Side A/Side B track differentiation, a first for me. There’s a real variety to It Never Gets Easy, and it shows in these two separate entities. Almost every piece has a guitar solo, and there’s guitar harmonies every now and then.

Truly, this is an impressive start for Eastwood, and I hope it isn’t a one-off or a forgotten idea. There’s room for growth as the band can escape genre tropes, but it’s more than evident that they know how to make a good song regardless. Give it a spin if you’re eager to see what else Knocked Loose guitarist and crew can achieve!

Score: 8.5/10

A press copy of It Never Gets Easy was provided courtesy of Eastwood.