Sometimes it’s fun to sit down and listen to an album which just straight up kicks you in the face. El Dorado, a band consisting of three veteran musicians hailing from Nevada City, California, provide just that with their debut album Smoke Rings. Throughout the album, listeners are provided with soulful, crooning vocals, thunderous drums, power-chords and fuzzed-out riffs.
First things first: the production on this album is fantastic. Recorded in aptly named Louder Studios in Grass Valley, California, they went straight to tape, which surely helped create the authentic sound that El Dorado gives us. Similarly, the overall quality of music sounds like it could fit right in the era of classic rock bands that were popular in the late’60s and early ‘70s. Songs such as “Dark Magic” and “1 AM” are good examples of this.
Aaron Ross’ vocals sound very reminiscent of Wolfmother with his constant croons in the upper register. Thankfully, he does a very good job of putting as much emotion as possible into his delivery, providing an added dimension to the band’s sound.
This pairs well with the drumming found within Smoke Rings, as they both seem to be exerting every ounce of energy in their bodies in each song. The guitarist does a very nice job filling out the space between, typically casting the overall vibe of each song. I have to say the band sound very comfortable playing with each other as their music is cohesive and is executed at a very high level.
My biggest piece of advice to the band would be to possibly seek out new territory. El Dorado does a very good job of accurately representing a certain time frame of music, but I would like to see them carve out more of their own path. They certainly demonstrate they are talented musicians, and I would like for them to tap into that talent to give us something a little bit different.
Debut releases are typically the most derivative, as each member is attempting to find common ground with their band mates, and as such, they frequently get carried away and end up sounding a lot like their influences. However, a lot of the time bands land far from what they shoot for, but the opposite is true for El Dorado. If anything, I would say they fall too closely to their influences, and because of this I would like to see the band move in a more original direction.
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