Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Just a Dream reviewed by Steve Jones

Just a Dream
Moreland and Arbuckle
Telarc Records
12 tracks

Gritty, grunge-based blues rock is the staple of these two Wichita based gents whose second Telarc release is a great follow-on to the critically acclaimed album Flood. These two guys are perhaps not the cup of tea everyone expects in the blues world, but if you like a heavy distorted lyrics and sound with big, nasty guitar licks, throbbing drum beat and overblown harp, well then step right up and enjoy this CD.

Opening with “The Brown Bomber”, the boys get right down to it with a filling busting driving beat and huge sound.  Track two tones the pace down a bit with the cover track, understandable lyrics and more of a faster ballad rock approach.  “Purgatory” is not as overdone as the opener, and it gives us a cleaner version of the grunge sound to appreciate.  Good lyrics and a nice harp leads and solos sold me on this one.  The mean harp opens track 4 (“Travel Every Mile”) and comes back in “Heart Attack and Vine”.  The big driving rocking beat and sound is there, too, as it is in almost every track.

“Troll” has more musical heavy handedness and then comes the short “Gypsy Violin” with some coolly odd voiceovers.  “Shadow Never Changes” is as close to a ballad as these guys get in a dark retro sort of way.  But then “Good Love” blasts off and it’s back to hot, straight and normal. “Who Will Be Next” and “So Low” are somewhat similar to the rest, but then they switch it up a little and close with a more country sound on “White Lighnin’.

If you like large, overblown sound and good lyrics (when you can understand them) in a heavy handed rocking blues sort of way, this is something to check out.  I like the sound, but sometimes the three or so variations on the theme get a little repetitive.  It’s good stuff, but the songs have some similarity in their approach. It’s raw and hardy stuff, and one can picture if the Delta blues was created today in this world of electrical technology we might have gotten something that sounds like this. 

Reviewed by Steve Jones

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