[EP] Justin Allen and the Well Shots – White Oak and Kerosene

Following the route provided by the titular boys in the band, Justin Allen and the Well Shots direct their latest EP via the anarchy-driven dissent to the bottom of the (often plastic) bottle. A lawless romp through the culture of half-baked dive bars and a more turbulent era of Americana, White Oak and Kerosene paints Allen as a revival tent preacher and peddler of well-known toxic remedies simultaneously.

Like the chaser to a particularly potent liquid, the sprawl of 5 tracks rips whatever town Allen has hunkered down in wide open. “Angelina,” in particular, fuses the reluctant troubadour sensibilities with a sense of homecoming. White Oak and Kerosene is, undoubtedly, the gunpowder leading up to keg for what ought to be a hell-raising LP follow-up.

There’s a soft side to White Oak and Kerosene, a nearly romantic turn to the honky tonk ballads of Bo and Hag. The romance is underscored by the haze of a drunken polar, reminding the listener that the amber and crystalline liquids are looming over Allen, and perhaps not solely in the metaphoric sense.

Allen may sing about destruction as fervently as he growls about the simpler things in life, but the main takeaway from the EP isn’t so much a witness to throwing the gauntlet for a battle thematically. Instead, White Oak is insight into the establishment of one’s toehold on a scene historically dominated by wayfarers and rings staining the backroom pool table.

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