The rock band Black Water brings the hard-hitting city style to the bluesy backwoods rock n’ roll of a retrospective era. The band has been around since the members were in high school in 2002, and after playing for several different bands over the years, they have reunited and released Edison’s Elephant, a full-length album characterized by heavy riffs, powerful percussion and catchy melodies.
The title track begins the record with a flash of energy as a repeated guitar riff continues throughout the song alongside a classic chord progression, bumping bass and steady drums. The vocals are present in the first tune, but they make a much bigger impression in “Taratula.” Reverb laces the voice hovering above the instruments and the vitality of the music continues unabated through the next song “Blueser” an aptly named, upbeat blues song.
The album has found its groove by the time “Paranoid Martian” comes around, which features an extended instrumental section as the anthem’s intro. Although the entire album contains elements from classic rock, this song in particular feels especially retro in style. The lyrics are esoteric, but in a fun, carefree way that lightens the mood of the record. In fact, the brightness is a theme throughout the album, even permeating the darker songs like “Stutter” and “Flying.”
“Alarm Clock Blues” is arguably the catchiest song on the entire album, with dueling guitars screaming out blues riffs, vocal harmonies adding a layer to the mix, and bouncing bass and percussion laying down the beat. As the title would suggest, “Undead” delves into a bit of a darker style with grunge-y guitars leading the way through minor chording and haunting lyrics and vocals.
Edison’s Elephant comes to an unconventional end with “Bye Bye,” a happy, yet profanity-laden old-time country ballad. This song is wholly acoustic - a serious change up for the band - and highlights choir-like harmonies that contrast with the lyrics. This unexpected finale does much for the album, but even without it, the record serves as a spectacular introduction to a talented and stylistically mature group of artists.
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