The Lone Bellow’s Zach Williams sings like he’s on fire for something. Like Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon fronting Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Williams and his band produce gospel-tinged folk that sounds like a backwoods revival — though the Lone Bellow seems less likely to emerge wearing matching robes. For songs of the sort featured on “Then Came the Morning” to catch, though, there needs to be immediacy above all else; instead, everything feels like it’s at a remove. That dampens the impact of “Cold As It Is,” which is rock solid when it should be razor sharp. And despite fiery electric guitar and thumping drums, “Heaven Don’t Call Me Home” hits no harder than the record’s pedal steel- and folk choir-enhanced acoustic-band tracks. “Then Came the Morning” never overcomes its distance; Williams can keen all he wants, but he’s no louder than someone speaking right to you, right in front of you. (Out Tuesday)
ESSENTIAL “Cold As It Is”
The Lone Bellow plays the Paradise Rock Club
on Feb. 12.
Marc Hirsh can be reached at email@example.com.