On their Hyena Records debut, Backyard Tire Fire stray a bit from their roots, with more piano-based songs than rockers. Though lead songwriter Ed Anderson’s vocals have improved, as is exhibited in the piano pop “Everybody’s Down,” the band is still at their best when they’re rocking out. “Legal Crime” is driven by choppy, overdriven power chords and “How the Hell Did You Get Back Here?” is uptempo rock & roll so catchy it’s almost impossible to hear and not get the urge to dance. The album’s peak is “Welcome to the Factory” and its fuzzed-out guitars, distorted vocals, and chugging southern rock riff.
That’s not to say that Backyard Tire Fire should ban pianos from the studio. The blues piano in “One Wrong Turn” is one of the highlights of the album. However, slow ballads are definitely not the band’s forte, as evidenced by “Rainy Day (Don’t Go Away),” which meanders like a bad Shawn Mullins song. If the band is able to master the rock songs and the ballads, they could soon become the next great southern rock band.