Saturday, October 6, 2012


There's certainly no sharp-dressed men involved here.  Guided by the equally big-bearded Rick Rubin, the Top trio instead stick with the serious boogie of their 70's days, albeit given lots of modern oomph.  Nobody makes this sound like them, each instrument sharp and huge, and tight to the groove.  Billy Gibbons chokes the notes out of his guitar so tight there's not a chance one will escape without being blues-perfect.

Yet the album, for all its strength in playing and volume, never rises to anything truly memorable.  Mostly its because the cuts are basic, band-written numbers in their usual style.  Gibbons continues to grumble his way through them, and even when there's some fun in the lyrics, such as Chartreuse, surely the first use of that colour as a woman's name, it's followed by filler lines such as "when you got the blues baby I got the juice".  I'm not advocating a return to their cartoon-MTV days material, but something has to stand out with this group, or its just the same-old same-old, even if they do it better than anyone else.  The one time they go outside the familiar, covering the Gillian Welch/Dave Rawlings song It's Too Easy Manana, the point is missed that the number is supposed to be delivered hushed, or it's just a drag.  A great blues band, yes, but sorely in need of some diversity.

No comments:

Post a Comment