I'm not going to bother with preliminary introductions here for two reasons - One being, is an in-depth biography really necessary for what will be a wonderful listening experience? And two, I can't find the words because really I just want to talk about the record. What I will say is that Houndmouth consist of four young musicians from New Albany, IN, and they have all the right ingredients to be a bona-fide, distinctly American bluesy folk-rock band – singers with twangy drawls, raw instrumentation, ideas… and a band member with the obligatory beard.

Kicking things off is 'On the Road', the first single to be taken from this, their debut album, From The Hills Below The City. Whether or not the title is a Kerouac reference I can't be sure, but there's a definite level of beatnik nomadism and a sense of wanderlust all in the name of self-exploration. It's jaunty, melodically optimistic and beautifully harmonised, arousing the desire to kick it all to the curb and get up and go where no-one knows you, man (which is pretty Kerouac). Next up is 'Come On Illinois', a slower, rhythmically wavering number with grand uprisings of guitar power chords which swell and subside with purposeful passion. Meanwhile, 'Penitentiary' tells the tale of a drifter who "couldn't score a job" so "learned how to rob" with a woefully gospel-like chorus followed by despondent "ooh"s and a crushing guitar solo.

'Casino (Bad Things)' is narrated by the fierce yet sultry Katie Toupin, who sings of putting her trust in her cigarettes instead of a man - or the government. Gambling aside, it's an explosively emboldening number ("I keep my heart locked in gold so I don't ever get hurt") that is intensified by Toupin's highly impassioned vocals. 'Hey Rose' r-e-a-l-l-y lets the blues riffs rip through the underlying soulful soundscape, drenching the entire song in a remarkably forceful passion that leaves you saying, in true 50s style, 'oh man, these cats can PLAY'. Slowing things down is 'Krampus', a short-lived harmonic blend of :coming homes" and "seeing lights", while Toupin's vocals soar above the instrumentation in a wistful echo. Equally plaintive is 'Long As You're Home', an unhurried meditation of a lover, filled with rugged, dense guitar solos.

'Houston Train' sees Toupin return to the narrative forefront, delivering a fable of getting high then getting clean. Cash, pills, gypsy trains and railroads back home are just all part of the journey filled with bluesy angst and inner struggles, delivered with remarkably emotive instrumental melodies. And closing the album is 'Palmyra', an almost unbearably moving track that rouses images of the walking wounded sitting alone at bars wearily drinking whiskey at two in the afternoon because life has become an inherently cruel and consistent struggle. Guitar solos are slow and mournful and the vocals weave and re-weave harmonies whilst the drums beat sluggishly in the distance.

Houndmouth have brought back the old-fashioned virtues of musicianship: (really) well-played instruments, carefully arranged vocals, collective uniformity and the power to move. The entire record sounds like it has naturally poured out of the band's instruments and voice boxes, with no sense of strain or forcefulness. It's distinctly American - but not the America we like to think of. It's not about the flashing lights of Hollywood or West Coast beaches; it narrates the struggles in the forgotten sides of America that despite the specifics of locality, are in fact familiar to us all. It's smacked out with country soul, story-like lyrical narratives and raw yet precise instrumentation that hits you somewhere in the core depths of your innards. It's a soulful reminder of the feelings you forgot you could feel about the places and problems you thought you could forget. It's a record that makes you 'dig' things and start calling people 'cats' – namely, 'you'll totally dig the way these cool cats make you FEEL things, man'. (No, really.)