Album review: Have Gun, Will Travel, Science from an Easy Chair

The fifth and latest from the Bay area Americana favorites could be their best to date (audio included)

A century after Sir Ernest Shackleton and his crew survived months stranded on the frozen ocean, Bradenton’s Have Gun, Will Travel are giving an epic tip of the cap to the harrowing tale of men who refused to die when all signs pointed to their obliteration at the hands of mother nature. In so many ways, fifth full-length Science From An Easy Chair is also a reboot for the long-adored Americana outfit.

The first song penned for the project, “True Believers,” came after frontman Matt Burke took a year off songwriting to find a more focused approach. Combined with production from new compatriot Shawn Kyle (Beauvilles, AMFMS), Burke & Co. have achieved it. Much of the album shines with familiar HGWT sonic tenets – Scott Anderson guitar wizardry, anthems for choruses, steady and stern rhythm from J.P. Beaubien — but every second packs added muscle and is marked by lyrics, melody, and arrangements that can turn tales of melancholy into majesty, and despair into conquest. Despite an already impressive catalog, Science is easily HGWT’s best. And it may be the beginning of their golden age.

Critics’ Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars.

Have Gun, Will Travel presents the album to the general public (via This Is American Music) on Fri., July 31, and holds an album release show the preceding Fri., July 24, at Crowbar in Ybor City; Hollis Brown and Garrett Klahn (formerly of Texas is the Reason) open. Tickets are $10-$12 and can be purchased here.

Check out "Spirit of Discovery" below.

Ray Roa

Read his 2016 intro letter and disclosures from 2022 and 2021. Ray Roa started freelancing for Creative Loafing Tampa in January 2011 and was hired as music editor in August 2016. He became Editor-In-Chief in August 2019. Past work can be seen at Suburban Apologist, Tampa Bay Times, Consequence of Sound and The...
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