Listening to “Runaway,” the first track on this guitar-slinging Lafayette band’s debut, you might think that lead singer Ryan Cazares is really some long-lost Van Zandt brother. The vocal resemblance is hard to miss, and it has the feel of a vintage Skynyrd track, both in terms of sound (lots of guitars) and subject matter (girl who gave him the slip). The difference though is that Skynyrd doesn’t rock this hard anymore. And to judge from Sour Sedans’ gung-ho delivery, with its many shouts and screams, Skynyrd also hasn’t had this much fun in decades.
If Sour Sedans stuck with this retro Southern sound, they’d have one floor-shaking disc on their hands. But it continues for only one more track—“Down in the Swamp,” with a nice, chunky riff and sing-along chorus—and from there things take a more modern turn. There’s a bit of Chili Peppers frat funk (“Humble”), a dramatic ballad a la Pearl Jam (“Misfortune,” complete with Eastern overtones) and some ominous nu metal on “Set a Fire.” But the clearest influence is Fuel, another grunge-inspired band with a flair for hooks (and for whom Sour Sedans recently opened a Broussard gig). As a catalog of modern rock styles it’s not bad, and the band writes decent-to-good material throughout. But a 13-song, 54-minute disc is a bit ambitious for a debut, and you get the impression that Sour Sedans are still casting about for a sound that suits them best. When they get to disc closer “The End,” which combines the Skynyrd raunch with the Fuel heaviness, they may have just found it.