For years, The Beautiful Train Wrecks have been one of the promising young acts in Portland's Americana underground — Willamette Week said they put a “fresh spin” on roots-rock — but now we Central Oregonians can claim at least a fraction of the band as our own.
That's because Lucas Alberg, the Wrecks' singer and rhythm guitarist, moved to Bend last year, leaving behind his three band mates (guitarist Jeff Koch, bassist/vocalist Amanda Breese, drummer Tony Howard) on the moist side of the mountains.
Alberg's relocation didn't slow the Wrecks, however. In fact, they've apparently been familiarizing themselves with the highways between Portland and Bend, playing a handful of gigs in both places and finishing up a new EP, “In the Midnight Blue,” which they'll celebrate with a show Saturday night at The Horned Hand.
At six songs long, “Midnight” is a nice, compact look at what this band does well, which is build authentically twangy country-rock songs around Alberg's sturdy baritone voice. The two- and three-part harmonies that seem to always swoop in at the perfect time are the icing on the cake.
Most of the tracks remind me a bit of the great Austin, Texas band The Derailers, if that band pulled itself away from the Buck Owens shrine and played a little more straight. (Not that worshipping Buck is a bad thing.) Meanwhile, the twang-noir shuffle of the song “Blood on the Walls” sounds like a shadowy Old 97s.
With Alberg in Bend, maybe we'll be seeing more of the Wrecks. Keep up with them at www.beautifultrain wrecks.com.
The Beautiful Train Wrecks CD release, with Third Seven and Broken Down Guitars; 8 p.m. Saturday; $6; The Horned Hand, 507 N.W. Colorado Ave., Bend; www.reverbnation .com/venue/thehornedhand.