Alrighty then Queens County Roots, I like your style! Tackling blues and rock with modern advances really hit the spot with their album Stereo.
The opening track is "Heaven Sent" and right off the bat I am smitten. A sincere blue rock jam with that sharp edge of indie rock and modern production tricks. There's a sticky sweet sourness here. It's just downright delicious, love. To be honest, a tune like this would often fall too on the nose for me in terms of blues, but again, that slight modern edge really brought it home for me. This song is razor sharp. Also gotta love the vocal work here too. A solid voice with so much range and ability.
I did have to chuckle at the second track's title which is "Romantic AF." This song has a cheeky irony to it while told in a ballad format. It's rooted in indie rock but has many references to romantic Latin trickery before dipping back into that blues category. There's balls on this one, I like it.
"No Words For It" takes a lighter jam band like turn. Again that blues and bluegrass motif is held tight, but they really play with structure here. This one has such a distinctive sound. Also the lyrics are some of my favorite on the album. It has an approachable narrative and again that vocal is just so on point. It's almost like the gospel of real life shit. I dig it.
My ears immediately perked up at the sound of that blues harp on “The Message.” I had a feeling it would show up, just wasn't sure when. This song found a solid, unified vein of blues and indie rock. That sweet harp action continues on through to "A Hand Up (Can Come From Below). I wouldn't say this trick had the same unique punch as "The Message" but the charm is still there. Tying it all up was "The Ballad Of James Corvus." So now we're getting this heavier hard rock blues sound that I had not yet heard on the album. It's interesting but ultimately felt a little more dated and too on the nose.
I can't stress enough how well done the production was on this album and how much it played into its success for me. Taking a tried and true genre and giving it a fresh take needs mixing and mastering like this. You can write a love letter to whatever decade or scene from the past you want, but for me, there's still gotta be something fresh. It has to bite, and that is exactly what this album does. It bites and it works.
Rock and blues fans alike will be able to dig into this album easily. It's a robust flavor that holds fast to its roots, but isn't afraid to step outside its own comfort zone. I think a little more of a push into modern formatting would be my only wish. Color me impressed. Give this one a go for sure.
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