Kill These Blues
It was Bugs Henderson who I first heard sing, “No one owns the blues”, pandering about the right anyone has to play as they please, while at the same time paying both respect tand authenticity to the genre. At the same time, blues is an idiom that may be twisted a bit, but should never be contrived.
The Rose City Kings seemed to have hit the mark at least on a couple occasions before the name change. While these are VERY capable and seasoned musicians, this effort comes off a little too glossy to pass as blues, while at the same time with its late-80’s “Guns and Roses” type packaging, it might also unwittingly dupe a buyer into thinking they’re getting something Axl-like.
Is this a rock band attempting the blues, or is it a blues band’s attempt to be ‘gritty’ while using top technical recording detail? I would much prefer to hear these otherwise decent suburban oriented songs a little more rough-hewn. This Cd is just too slick to be taken this seriously. The content and vamping is there, such as the careful transitions of the first track, “Dying On The Vine”, and “Backslide”, but the vocals and entire feel is a bit too smooth.
The title track is somewhat interesting; It actually sounds like a song Flo and Eddy would’ve written and performed during their early 70’s Zappa tenure. It’s interesting in its construction and hooky chorus– but are they ‘killing’ bad feelings, making ‘killer’ blues or actually trying to ‘kill’ the blues? Your guess is as good as mine.
Purporting a blend of indie rock, it seems to miss this mark too, as far as I can tell.
For what they are worth, Kolvane consists of obviously practiced musicians who I strangely can find no category for, which can be a good thing as long as there is a substantial eclecticism or weirdness factor involved. Instead, they’ve taken too many styles and crammed them into one CD. “Under The Honey Moon” is an example of pretty good song writing and melody, but again, its misplaced on this CD. It sounds more like something you’d expect to hear on a Kenny Rogers, or Lionel Ritchie album.
“Sun Song” is yet another example exhibiting Kolvane’s good voice, but he would be more suited to sing outright rock and/or metal. His vernacular is somewhat overwrought, reminding me of some of those 70’s singers like John Fogerty, Uriah Heap or Randy Bachman–he’s good, but overdone. This band seems to really concentrate upon the succinctness of the recordings and a strict rule for exactness–which has its place in Seals and Crofts or Bread.
No one owns the blues, but please don’t mess with it.
© 2011 Buko Magazine