Keep Your Powder Dry is the new EP from New York’s country-rockers The Izzys. The EP is structured a little methodically: upbeat-downbeat-upbeat-downbeat-big closer, and the downbeat numbers are good—but not good enough. The second song, “Under the Sun,” sounds vaguely like the Beatles—but it’s a little too slow, and definitely the weakest track here. But it’s still eminently listenable. Best of all, it’s followed by the ass-kicking Neil Young-like guitar crunch of “You Are Free,” an instant country rock classic that’s well worth the price of the entire EP. But the structure speaks volumes: The band has made a studio EP, and one gets the sense listening that they really want to spread their wings. What makes “You Are Free” and the band’s cover of The Grateful Dead’s “Deal” so good are the extended jams and the more experimental vocals. This is the rare example of a band that needs less song structure, not more.
And don’t let the “country rock” moniker fool you. Yes, they’ve got the honky tonk swing and twang, but enough rock and roll to keep fans of old Stones and Skynyrd coming back for more. I can’t help but think that they must be great live.
BONUS GRATEFUL DEAD COVERS!
In honor of the great cover of “Deal” on the above-reviewed Izzys’ EP . . .