Roaring electric riffs. Devastatingly emotive lyrics. Rock n’ roll guitar solos. Tempered melodic twang. Indeed, Story Book Road’s incredible EP The Window of Your Soul has all of the standard trappings of an iconic modern country record, but it’s how they’re manipulated into a brilliantly original cocktail that makes this Houston outfit’s 2018 hit required listening among country music aficionados right now. Story Book Road take an old school Nashville style and give it a contemporary Texas twist in The Window of Your Soul, with the resulting sound echoing shades of everyone from legendary outlaw soloists to obscure garage rock bands. Theirs is a unique variety of country if I’ve ever heard it, and I’m not the only critic who has become enamored by their work as of late.
Swing is king in this extended play, and we find it in each of the six songs that this group has to share with us here. Even the toned-down “Cabin in the Woods” has a really danceable groove for a centerpiece, while the fiery “Sister Sally,” “Carmen Miranda” and “Get Out Tonight” were conceived with tearing up a Saturday night in mind. The title track utilizes its vacuum-like beats to entrap us at the very onset of its lush melodic sway, and though “It Don’t Mean Nothin” has the most deliberately staggered tempo, its blue-hued rhythm (which recalls Bad Company’s “Can’t Get Enough” in a few spots) still fits in well with the overall energy of the tracklist it sits on.
I wasn’t aware of Story Book Road prior to getting my hands on a copy of The Window of Your Soul recently, but it’s easy to see why it received the volume of accolades that it did upon its release last year. For running a mere twenty-three minutes in total length, these six songs sound like an extended jam session when they’re played in the order intended by the band. I’m curious to hear a full-length record from these guys in the future, but in the meantime, The Window of Your Soul is a phenomenal introduction to this warm, easygoing group of Texas melody-makers.