Sure Fire Groove – EP #1 (Independent)
Sure Fire Groove are a four-piece folk-blues and Americana outfit from Chicago. Their loose, relaxed style seems to have evolved from multiple sources, from contemporary roots acts like The Avett Brothers and Simon Felice’s various projects to Southern rock bands like the Allmans and the Black Crowes; their English counterparts, the Stones and Faces, together with a hint of Grateful Dead. That’ll be manna from heaven for many listeners, and Sure Fire Groove do everything possible to live up to expectations.
“EP #1” provides a three-track primer for the new album they’re currently recording (their debut album “Wooden Horse” was released in 2008), and does more than enough to whet the appetite and leave us wanting more. The band has been together for a decade, playing more than 300 gigs, and that experience shows throughout the collection. Vocals entwine and harmonize beautifully, and the musicianship is subtle though never underplayed. All three tracks are excellent. Opener “Got to Get to Heaven” is a muscular blues-rocker, which recognizes that its power lies in its restraint rather than slash and burn theatrics. Middle cut “Sit” arrives on acoustic guitars, superb vocals and undeniable pop hooks – it’d sound wonderful on the radio. Concluding with “Call the Captain”, its folk-rock vibe and upbeat acoustics are a joy to hear, and it might just be the best thing on the record – by a cat’s whisker.