“If country music's original outlaws had made their break with Nashville in the post-punk era, it might have sounded a lot like this.” –No Depression
“Come Home To Me… has such power and emotion, it's right up there with a track you'd find on a Tom Waits or Nick Cave record.” –SF Chronicle
“… one of rock’s best-kept secrets.” -National Review
“Come Home To Me is a solid Americana album with the requisite jangly guitar, swagger and saunter required to keep it interesting from front to back.” –Nine Bullets
“…the sort of music that makes one release the demons, both good and bad, and rejoice in the redemptive powers of maximum (country) rock and roll. Rating 10/10. Essential.” –Nine Bullets
“A collection of 11 original, delicious songs that will leave you wanting more after your first taste of it.” –A Million Watts of Sound
“Best debut album of the year? Believe it, pardner.”
“The Famous arrange a standoff between the Pixies in a cowboy hat and Hank Williams on speed, six-shooters loaded with punk and rockabilly, and whaddya know – that bastard alt-country genre gets shot square in the forehead, with a stray bullet no less.” —West Coast Performer
“The Famous successfully combine the transcendent roar of punk with the brutal honesty and black wit of traditional country on Light, Sweet Crude” —Trouser Press
“9 out of 10 stars — The Famous deliver the goods straight up with no filler”
“…reveals more about American life than any of Bruce Springsteen’s last few albums”
“Distilled from the grains of traditional country but infused with power chords and scorching lead guitar, this audacious album is both out of control and expertly crafted.”
“If you're any kind of roots rock fan, you'd be a eejit to miss this album!”
“Deep down and dirty swamp rock that breaks any perceived formula with the incredible, unclassifiable voice of Laurence Scott”
“…practically everyone who’s listened to the band’s cheese-free, slightly punkified hillbilly jangle thinks it’s the greatest.”
No Depression, October 2010
San Francisco’s The Famous, led by guitarist/vocalists Laurence Scott and Victor Barclay, debuted five years ago with the post-punk rock of Light, Sweet Crude. They still profess deep affection for the Pixies, but their new release isn’t nearly as raw as the debut, and the country twang explored on the earlier “Deconstruction Worker” is the new record’s raison d’être. Scott’s vocals retain their edgy emotion, and the music still has its rock power, but the band plays with more dynamics, and the tempos mull over the lyrics’ angst rather than spitting them out. If country music’s original outlaws had made their break with Nashville in the post-punk era, it might have sounded a lot like this.
Scott’s bitter words and needy tone straddle the line between anger and remorse on the perfectly unconvincing “Without You,” and though “Perspicacious” sounds like the post-punk power-pop of Sugar, Scott retains the twang in his voice. The band shows their instrumental chops on the lengthy spaghetti-western intro to “Happy,” and the title track mixes the growl of Tom Waits and dark theatrics of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins with a mix of trad-jazz trombone, hard-twanging guitar and pedal steel. The closing instrumental “Under the Stars” is wistful, with countrypolitan piano, lazy steel and a terrific Endless Summer guitar that draws the day’s surfing (or perhaps trail ride) to a close. The melding of eras and influences is heard throughout the album, with heavy lead guitars winding into hard-charging Gun Club-styled verses, and spare solos that build into musical walls. This is a terrific evolution from the band’s debut, focusing the muscle and energy of their post-punk rock into compelling, emotional twang.
— No Depression
San Francisco Chronicle
The Famous have an outstanding song, Come Home To Me, which has such power and emotion, it's right up there with a track you'd find on a Tom Waits or Nick Cave record. Yeah, they're that good.
— Tony DuShane
National Review: Best of 2010
The Famous: The guys in this San Francisco band should be what their name says they are. Alas, they remain one of rock’s best-kept secrets.
— John J. Miller
Alternate Root Magazine, #3 Music Video of the Year in 2010
It's kind of an alternative Americana, sort of Roots, Punk… I don't really know exactly what you'd call it…it's got this New Orleans vibe… it's a very interesting band from San Francisco.
— Alternate Root Magazine
In My Basement Room, Best of 2010 Pick
The Famous is a four piece out of San Francisco that sound like they've spent a lot of time in Bakersfield. Their latest album Come Home to Me has plenty of jangly twang guitars but is mixed equally with punching pop power chords that combine for some really memorable hooks. Think Buck Owens meets the Old 97's. The Famous is Laurence Scott (Vocals, Guitar), Victor Barclay (Guitar, Backing Vocals), Chris Fruhauf (Drums), and G.D. Hensley (Bass). Definitely check this album/band out if you are a fan of great alt-country guitar and songwriting. No dates listed on the website, and I'd imagine they don't make it this far east too often, but maybe they'll come around soon.
— In My Basement Room
Sometimes an unannounced cd shows up in my mailbox and I immediately want to like it. There’s no rhyme or reason as to why I wanna like it, I just do. With Come Home To Me from The Famous, that was the case. Now rarely does the wanting to like it turn into actually liking it, but I’ll be damned if The Famous didn’t manage to make that journey.
Originally I was planning on writing about these guys and calling them the Americana version of The Pixies, hell if Amazon’s editor review guy didn’t beat me to that one. Then I thought I could draw a comparison to a local band here in Tampa/St. Pete, The Urbane Cowboys, but let’s be real, no one on here even knows who those guys are so I’m in a little bit of a pickle. Omitting my initial two impulses, I am stuck with saying Come Home To Me is a solid Americana album with the requisite jangly guitar, swagger and saunter required to keep it interesting from front to back. I know that sounds kind of generic but that’s not the band’s fault, it’s mine for being at a loss after having my thunder stolen not once, but twice.
The Famous' "Come Home To Me" is an alt-country romp with the sort of big choruses that make me want to shake my fist at the world, stop crying in my beer, forget that girl, and hit on the chick wearing the Uncle Tupelo T-shirt that's riding the mechanical bull in the middle of this dive bar.
Alt-country doesn't quite describe this. It's not so much country in the fact that it sounds like Toby Keith (which it doesn't), but more like Garth Brooks fronting Soul Asylum when they weren't dating Hollywood starlets and singing about trains and shit. The more this album plays the more I want to see this band live. They have the swagger needed to pull this sort of countrified rock and roll off without sounding artificial or forced. "Come Home To Me" never settles into one repeated idiom (which happens way to often to bands that prescribe to a certain style such as this), but it uses it's "country with a punk chaser" as a launch pad to follow it's muse into slow rockabilly, Pixies-esque quiet-loud-quiet punch ups, and the sort of music that makes one release the demons, both good and bad, and rejoice in the redemptive powers of maximum (country) rock and roll.
Rating 10/10. Essential.
Front Porch Musings, March 2010
The Famous are a really cool punkified San Francisco country/rockabilly band. These guys are the kind of music that we’re looking to find more of here in the city, and the kind that we really like to see being made here by the Bay. This album is booze-soaked, smokey, rough, and pretty all in one. The band can do a lot of awesome things, and expect to see and hear more from them in the near future, both here at FPM, and just up in your ear. I’m gonna show you two of my favorites below. They’re faster, more attitudinal tunes, but they do some great slow stuff too. “Happy” kinda reminds me of some really dark Dick Dale, and “Mano Negra” means black hand in Spanish, and you might hear a little Modest Mouse.
— Front Porch Musings
Tastes Like Rock, January 2011
Country music isn't exactly this reviewer's personal taste in music, but I have to admit The Famous is a good start to changing that. This isn't "crying in my beer" country or Garth Brooks style country pop, there is a heavy rock side to the sound offered by The Famous; while remaining decidedly country. Instrumentation is tight with some very tasty grooves. Vocals are a great blend of country and rock, not unlike Lynryd Skynyrd… but of a harder rock vein.
Pacing keeps itself catchy and gets your foot tapping along even on slower numbers like "Every Day". Lyrically many songs do follow the usual country fair of lost love, lovers walking out on relationships, getting over said lovers, and finding happiness again. But The Famous make these themes their own and this reviewer always applauds that.
A Million Watts of Sound, October 2010
Laurence Scott's vocals are incredible. I find his voice reminiscent of Johnny Cash, whose music was pretty much my introduction to this style of classic rock 'n' roll music. But The Famous are not some kind of Johnny Cash cover band. Oh, heavens, no! Their album is proof of that. A collection of 11 original, delicious songs that will leave you wanting more after your first taste of it.
When I first heard this title track "Come Home to Me", I was left with a one word reaction. Damn! Who are these guys? The song is sad, dramatic and heavy but also filled with some damn sexy swagger. Charlie Wilson's special guest appearance on trombone…whew! Hot! It became an instant favorite, and I knew I had to listen to the whole album.
Come Home To Me (2010) leaves me feeling like I'm in another place. Where the music from an era before my time meets the one I exist in now. Where the raw foundations of classic rock 'n' roll are met with the modern edge of today. And in some funny way, I'm getting to experience what it's like to have lived in those times when music like this was fresh and new. These guys DO NOT mess around. The music is gorgeous… and you REALLY have to have a listen for yourself.
I love the storytelling, in the songs. Not only in the lyrics and vocals, but in the guitars…the bass…the drums… all of it. In fact, the last track, "Under the Stars" is an instrumental piece, and it is just beautiful…absolutely beautiful. "Perspicacious" is an addictive song, where once it finishes, I have to listen to it again. Might as well leave it on repeat! My favorite part? "You're so full of it! Best watch what you do! I've got my eye…on you…" Ha ha ha. Awesome. Well these guys are definitely full of talent, energy, and stories to tell. So don't miss out on the creations of Laurence Scott, Victor Barclay, Chris Fruhauf and G.D. Hensley. They are The Famous.
— A Million Watts of Sound
Biscuits and Gravy
You know when you’re in the mood for, well…more? Loaded up with all your favorite songs and artists, you’re still left wanting. We all know you can’t trust the radio for anything more substantial than bubble gum, so you’re left trying to fill some musical craving that never seems to fade.
I wholeheartedly suggest you dive into the world of The Famous. Their newest album Come Home to Me is full of lush, full sounds. Obviously well-rounded musicians, these guys don’t mess around. Self described as “a shot of classic country with a post punk chaser”. Really, I couldn’t agree more.
Each song on this record has some rich quality to it. The classic country licks meshed with some gritty indie-rock, deep bluesy feeling, old western overtones, surf rock, crisp clean guitar, grungy dark distorted guitar…these guys rock all of it.
Each song is unique to its brothers in style and sound. Some are dark, others up beat and fun, there’s even one that seems entirely quirky, but all of them are wonderfully written and mixed. The Famous doesn’t stick to just one sound that they feel works for them. You can feel their experimentation and love of musical roots. I kept trying to think of who lead singer Laurence Scott reminded me of and it basically boils down to this: depending on the song he reminds me of Rick Miller and John Flansburg, with his own uniqueness shining through. Of course, then they threw a curve ball and handed the mic over to Victor Barley whose Lead Belly/Nick Cave-y, gritty dark vocals balances out the more light almost wistful stylings of Scott.
The title song “Come Home to Me” literally sent chills down my spine with its dirty, gritty blues style opening. The first song “Off My Mind” cought my attention right away with its opening and kept me interested, while third track “Without You” should become the anthem of all souls suffering from a recent break up. I’m also impressed that they ended the album with an instrumental “Under the stars”. They’ve given you quite a ride through the entirety of the album and now offer you a chance to let your mind wonder and enjoy pure music. Scott, along with bandmates Victor Barclay (Guitar/Vocals), G.D. Hensley (bass), and Chris Fruhauf (drums), have truly created something completely inspiring.
And hey, if you don’t agree, it’s all gravy, baby.
—Biscuits And Gravy
Now This Sound Is Brave
On first listen, the Famous’ new album, Come Home to Me, sounds like the soundtrack to a roadtrip* wherein Very Bad Things Happen. Can’t speak for your world, but in NTSIB’s world, that’s more than enough to merit a second listen. The Famous has a birth story reminiscent of the birth story of the Rolling Stones, but instead of Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters albums, the chance meeting of Laurence Scott and Victor Barclay hinged on them both owning the same car: the ’65 model Ford Galaxie. The Rolling Stones comparison could be extended to the way the Famous take an old American songstyle (in their case, country & western) and mix it up with modern sensibilities… but that would be facile and trite, so we won’t do that. We could exaggerate the facts to make it seem that Laurence Scott left his life of farming for the life of a rock ‘n’ roller, but we’ll leave Scott’s 2nd place award in the 1983 Junior Farmers competition at the Dallas Farmer’s Market for excellence in radishes and swiss chard for the tabloids to uncover and twist when the band blows up big.
Come Home to Me is a follow-up to their 2005 debut, Light, Sweet Crude, and it is an all-around tighter and more focused album. Their penchant for down-and-dirty roadhouse country is brought to the forefront, and Scott’s voice is now strong and resonant in its timbre and twang. On closer inspection of their lyrics, there is a lot of love-gone-wrong here, but of the sort many can relate to, as evidenced in the succinct first lyric of the album opener, “Off My Mind”: This makes me sick. But I’ll make myself sicker. There are guts spilled all over this album, from the words to the guitars to Scott’s agonized howl midway through “Cold Tonight”.
But there is a lot of fun to be had in the listening. (Doubly so if you are a word nerd – “Perspicacious” had me laughing out loud the first time I listened to it.) So pop open a beer, no matter the expiration date, and have a listen.
— Now This Sound Is Brave
One Chord to Another, Feb 2011
The Famous from San Francisco are exploring the darker side of the country field, even though the album doesn’t often enter into such deep & dark waters as the video single Come Home To Me below. There’s actually a lot of versatility in here. There’s beautiful country songs, raw rock’n'roll entertainment and some brutal bluesy americana.
— One Chord to Another
Beat Surrender, July 2010
Come Home to Me opens with a alt-country rocker reminiscent of the Old 97′s and finishes up with soothing steel adorned instrumental, on the way from track one to eleven the musical journey takes in squally guitars and blues, moody rock-n-punk country, twang and brass, defying you to label it one thing or another, the album has a confidence and swagger that demands you turn it up loud.
The Famous are Laurence Scott (vocals, acoustic guitar, percussion), Victor Barclay (electric guitar, acoustic guitar, piano, backing vocals) Chris Fruhauf (drums, percussion) and G.D. Hensley (electric bass, upright bass), on the album pedal steel is provided by Joe Goldmark and trombone by Charlie Wilson, Scott is the bands primary song writer, having a hand in nine of the tracks including three co-writes with Barclay who also contributes a pair of tracks to the album.
My pick, the bluesy one Ain’t Much Wrong
Manila Standard, July 2005
Two normal looking dudes on the sleeve of the album posing along the grilled fence of church, one wearing Buddy Holly-glasses, the other a plaid shirt. Nefarious grave stealers? Animal rapists? Serial Killers? Psychiatric inmates? Close, they're The Famous and they've come for your children.
Now, I hate country. Try to play Billy Ray Cyrus while I'm around and I'll rip off your head. But The Famous [you gotta love the attitude. Hi, guys! We're The Famous! Not just Famous but THE Famous!], well, they take what's there and run off with it. You can almost smell the dried up beer on the floor and the smoky haze as "Light, Sweet Crude" threatens to pull you six ways to Sunday. The wrecking crew of Laurence Scott and Victor Barclay channel a bit of Black Francis with Hank Williams and sniff a bit of rockabilly, a dash of roots right before they rocket through Texas — doing "anything for a rattlesnake or a ZZ TOP keychain". It's such a wonderful assortment of genres that you never hear the 'yeehaws' and 'yoodles'.
I feel a fever coming on. And I see you still have your head on your shoulders.
Ink 19, June 2005
These tough-talking, tobacco-chewing country punks from the Bay Area deliver enough twang to get them misidentified with the Americana movement. But don't be fooled: these guys are totally whacked. The psychotic fury of the opening song, "Son of the Snake," is the nightmarish reality hiding behind the deceptively innocuous Western-themed album cover. While there is traditional roots music on this record, best exemplified by whiskey weepers "Overtime" and "Tear," The Famous ride the rails with a bottle of Jack Daniels and fistful of stinkweeds.
Vocalist Laurence Scott growls and roars like vintage Frank Black when The Pixies were dangerous. No matter which one of two interpretations you give "Get You Back," it doesn't change the fact that Scott sounds like a serial killer, which'll scare the hell out of any Wilco fans who mistakenly order this CD, believing it's all about Southern jangle and boyish harmonies.
No, not quite.
The energizing "Midway" has a boot-stomping surf riff that is made both ugly and hilarious with Scott's rough singing and hysterically twisted lyrics. "True Believer" boils with relentless energy and the warped "Son of the Snake" is one of the most memorable LP openers of the year — simply because you don't expect it. Best debut album of the year? Believe it, pardner.
—Kirby Raine http://www.ink19.com/issues/june2005/musicReviews/musicF/famous.html
Americana-UK.com, June 2005
Deep down and dirty swamp rock that breaks any perceived formula with the incredible, unclassifiable voice of Laurence Scott. Sitting somewhere between The Drive By Truckers and The Pixies, this album, somewhat bizarrely, saves its best material for last, 'Overtime' through to closer 'I Wonder' are far superior to any of the tracks that precede them. A real solid collection that would have benefited from being released on vinyl.
West Coast Performer, May 2005
Like an Old West duel between ‘50s country and ‘90s indie rock, Light, Sweet Crude shatters the pastoral tedium of alt-country. The Famous arrange a standoff between the Pixies in a cowboy hat and Hank Williams on speed, six-shooters loaded with punk and rockabilly, and whaddya know – that bastard alt-country genre gets shot square in the forehead, with a stray bullet no less.
Band members Laurence Scott and Victor Barclay draw a fine line in the sand with Light, Sweet Crude – a line to cross for all those who can’t stand Wilco and wish X were still around to save West Coast punk. On the back cover of the album, Scott and Barclay pose like a pair of young Johnny Cashes, while the inside sleeve is lined with photos of old cars, a vintage clothing store, and an oil derrick. It’s a meeting of the Wild West and the modern West if ever there was one.
Scott’s vocals are quirky, uninhibited, and coarse, yet when he wants to he can croon like a whiskey-chuggin’ angel. But Barclay’s instrumental contributions make this album what it is – he knows how to play and he knows what to play, both on electric guitar and stand-up bass. He keeps the music intriguing by abandoning the comfortable conventions of genre – except for the hackneyed ballads “Tear” and “Overtime.”
For a local indie debut, this album’s got one heck of a roster of collaborators and contributors behind it. Light, Sweet Crude was recorded at John Vanderslice’s Tiny Telephone studio and mixed by Aaron Prellwitz (Neil Young, Death Cab for Cutie, Red House Painters). Before joining the Famous, lead vocalist Scott sang with Frank Black. Lead guitarist Barclay produced and recorded early incarnations of local groups Vue and Oranger and was a founding member of the Aquamen. But big names don’t mean a thing here, and they should soon become a footnote to the Famous story. After all, Scott and Barclay were the only ones to walk away from the duel without a bullet in the arse.
Shotgun Reviews, April 2005
If history is going to repeat itself, then it may as well do it all the way. Back in the ‘80s when new wave music was one of three well-circulated rock & roll styles alongside AOR and heavy metal, there was a flashback roots-oriented movement with bands such as Jason & the Scorchers and Green On Red courageously showing off their love for country. Now that new wave has returned with Franz Ferdinand, the Killers, and the Bravery and the Darkness are fitting themselves in tight spandex and doing histrionic AC/DC imitations, it’s perfect timing for roots-rock to be resuscitated. Now called “Americana,” it’s actually a genre that’s been bubbling underground since the early ‘90s and welcomed again by college-radio stations.
The Famous are perhaps the most creative of this league of not-so-extraordinary Southern gentlemen; it helps that they aren’t from the South as the group isn’t afraid to give traditional country a good-natured spanking. In fact, the opening cut “Son of the Snake” doesn’t even sound like Americana. Judging from that, I thought the cover art and pictures were possibly a joke to reel in unsuspecting customers not expecting a Big Black CD. But it’s not a gag; these guys have country in their blood, and they are damn good at bending its clichés.
Vocalist-guitarist Laurence Scott can write some hilariously twisted lyrics like on “Midway” and “Get You Back”; humor is best served black, after all. Those songs epitomize the Famous’ unrestrained expression of artistic freedom. They’re not trying to be adored by the masses, just being themselves, and “Midway” reveals more about American life than any of Bruce Springsteen’s last few albums. Light, Sweet Crude has its share of twang and Southern accents; more importantly, it is filled with heart. And even when it’s broken, the Famous continue to beat with relentless enthusiasm and endless joy. I reckon these boys will be Famous one day.
Culture Bunker, April 2005
Whiskey soaked American Music that's tight and varied. The CD kicks off in supreme fashion with a grinding groover in Son Of The Snake, than gets even better with a rootsy raver that's sure to stick squarely inside your head with It's Done. Tear takes the disc in a more straight country-fied direction that's (heart) felt through much of Light, Sweet Crude. There are about 6 songs on this debut disc that are very good, well written and impassioned performances that point to a very bright future.
Pop Matters, April 2005
The San Fran Bay Area duo of Victor Barclay and Laurence Scott mix their own brand of roots rock if delivered by a jacked-up Les Claypool on the opening "Son of the Snake". It's an eclectic number that contrasts totally between chorus and verses. But this is the anomaly of the album. Supported by drummer Chris Fruhauf and bassist Jack Dunham on several tracks, the band also sounds like they've been influenced by The Handsome Family or Tarbox Ramblers. "It's Done" is an old-fashioned but edgy country romp. A tad gentler is "Tear" which harkens images of Slobberbone or a twangy Marah. Just as solid is the groovy rockabilly "True Believer" while lyrics such as "I would do anything for a ZZ Top keychain" ingratiate themselves on "Midway". What you find here is very good rock tunes with no filler at all. The highlight might be the infectious "Lost" which shifts gears often but the honky-tonkin' "Overtime". But the sleeper pick is the softer, twang-fuelled "Deconstruction Worker" which cites philosophers.
The Owl Mag, April 2005
The Famous' debut release Light, Sweet, Crude masterfully showcases the roots of rock 'n' roll. Distilled from the grains of traditional country but infused with power chords and scorching lead guitar, this audacious album is both out of control and expertly crafted.
Equal parts haunting, overdriven, and succinctly heartfelt, the album's tales are steeped in literate Americana from top to bottom. It slyly navigates a twisted path with ghostly riffs, unshakeable melancholy, and pondered revenge…before ultimately ending up on an open desert highway with a full tank of high octane. And a score to settle.
It's around this time that Light, Sweet, Crude finishes off the Jack Daniels, smashes the bottle, and lights up a cigarette. So throw on a pair of jeans, grab your own bottle and call shotgun. Be warned though, it may already be taken.
Alternative Rock Review, April 2005
The Famous' Light, Sweet Crude reminds me of what my dad's country records used to sound like. Put away your adult perspectives and think about how music felt when you were a child. As a kid, I thought Johnny Cash was scary. No, not in the Jack the Ripper definition in the word, but Cash wasn't somebody you wanted to upset. To my ears, he roared like a towering grown-up, his eyes burning with the rage you'd expect from a stern principal after misbehaving in the playground. Of course, as I got older I came to appreciate Cash as an elder statesman of outlaw country rock – nothing terrifying but admirable nonetheless and even relatable. The Famous, on the other hand, can be frightening – just listen to the gritted-teeth rage of "Get You Back" and "Son of the Snake." And, hey, country music should have its chilly scenes. However, the Famous strike various emotional chords on Light, Sweet Crude, and all of them are effective. My father would've cried to "Tear" back in the day, and "Overtime" is a charming homage to traditional country. The Famous perform a neat juggling act on this debut, swinging from country and post-punk, bottles of Jack Daniels in one fist and beef jerky in the other.
Whisperin' and Hollerin', March 2005
9 out of 10 stars — The Famous deliver the goods straight up with no filler
From the cover you'd expect some old-fashioned country music, not Johnny Cash or Willie Nelson, but something of real vintage like singing cowboys such as Roy Rogers or Tex Ritter. However, those preconceived notions are blown apart like the gas tank of a Pinto after hearing the opening track, "Son of the Snake." This ain't your poppa's country music, pardner. Neither blasphemous nor reverent, the Famous have their mud-soaked boots planted in both punk and Southern twang.
"Son of the Snake" sets the table – relentless Pixies howl with a redneck accent, scarier and more challenging than anything on Metallica's last two records. While it's easy to drop the Americana tag on these boys, what I usually hear from the genre is never this aggressive and lyrically stinging. The Famous are a thinking man's Reverend Horton Heat or the Violent Femmes gone electric. Some of the words bite like rattlesnakes, especially the bitter singalongs "Tear" and "Get You Back," but there are drop-dead hilarious narratives as well such as vocalist Laurence Scott's yearning to see the world's smallest horse on "Midway."
Trouser Press, March 2005
Bridging the gap between classic country and punk rock is no longer a radical idea; X and Social Distortion long ago proved that both genres have more in common than purists of either style would care to admit. Formed in San Francisco in 2003 by vocalist/guitarist Laurence Scott and guitarist/bassist Victor Barclay, the Famous successfully combine the transcendent roar of punk with the brutal honesty and black wit of traditional country on Light, Sweet Crude. The Famous dip their toes in the psychotic anguish of the Pixies and the lovelorn narratives of Hank Williams Senior without going overboard on either.
The record is a surprisingly balanced fusion of the group's influences; none of it feels contrived or sounds like a marketing gimmick. "Tear" and "Get You Back" are midnight confessions of heartache with such darkly humorous revelations as, "I'm so mad / I curse at the TV." Driven by Scott's penetrating growl and Barclay's gritty riffs, "Get You Back" is either a song of vengeance or an optimistic view of reconciliation; it all depends on how much whiskey you’ve swallowed. For the most part, Scott's vocals more closely resembles Michael Stipe's than Johnny Cash's, but there is no doubting the authenticity of his country affections, best exemplified on "Overtime," the only track on the album without any modern-rock touches. The Famous aren't afraid of expanding the boundaries of Americana — the serrated, metallic guitars of the opening rocker "Son of the Snake" and the spellbinding surf groove of "Midway" venture beyond the usual perimeter of roots-rock. Their deep-seated knowledge of what makes country and punk work as separate entities have given them a high level of confidence and skill to pull them together without force, enough to make their first record a knockout punch to the chin.
CD Baby, March 2005
It's like The Stones, The Doors, The Cramps all mixed in with Iggy Pop for an arse-kicking mix of swampy, swaggery classic rock-americana-roots rock-country drinking music. Think whiskey-soaked, cigarette-smelling, beat-up southern spirit with an emphasis on perfect hooks, aggressive guitar, irreverent attitude and cackling, "lemme tell you some'in.." vocals. If you're any kind of roots rock fan, you'd be a eejit to miss this album.
Impact Press, February 2005
Laurence Scott and Victor Barclay are The Famous, a band that combines the trueness of country music with the attitude of southern rock. Elements of blues and Americana are present during this album of solid, up-tempo songs that pick apart a man's past, his relationships, and the paybacks along the way. Backup musicians do their part to add the majority of drums and bass guitar, to help create an album with highlights such as the pulsating "True Believer" and "Lost."
SF Weekly, December 13, 2004
Here’s a band that doesn’t live up to its name — at least, not yet. The Famous plays no-frills country music of the Bakersfield Sound variety (that is, the old-fashioned Buck Owens style, a genre now known as “classic country”) mixed up with some good old indie rock. So the Famous isn’t famous, except among those who’ve heard the group in action, because practically everyone who’s listened to the band’s cheese-free, slightly punkified hillbilly jangle thinks it’s the greatest. Here’s the kicker: A common sight at Famous shows is a guy walking away afterward shaking his head and saying, “I don’t even like country music. But they were really good!” Whether fame finds Victor Barclay and Laurence Scott or not, you can be one of those head-shaking guys.
Fans in their own words
"AMAZING alt.country/psychobilly/old-time-twang that just knocked my socks off."
"Great energy and bold, intelligent songs. Go see them! Buy their CD!"
"i just bought their album – listen to it all the time – country alternative – great mix of tunes – their music has a way of sticking in your head – great stage show – highly recommended"