The Record Review

The Place For Honest Record Reviews

The Black Crowes Reawakened

tbcfrostThe Black Crowes – Before the Frost…Until the Freeze
August 31, 2009
Silver Arrow Records

Victim of Loudness War? No

The Black Crowes have long been established as one of rock and roll’s pre-eminent live acts. Over the last 20 years, they have pushed boundaries on stages across the world, refusing to play their hits, choosing to instead melt faces with soaring guitar duels, earthy jams, outtakes from album sessions,  B-sides to singles, new originals, re-worked originals, or a myriad assortment of well-chosen and expertly executed covers. The unfortunate thing is, like a majority of bands who are vitally potent on stage, that vitality does not always translate onto record.

In the case of the Black Crowes, the studio catalog has been spotty at best. Discounting The Lost Crowes (a rarities collection released in 2006 comprised from unreleased sessions recorded from 1993-1997), the Crowes’ recorded output the past 10 years has ranged from tentative but earnest (last year’s “comeback” Warpaint) to non-cohesive experimentation (2001’s Lions), to a downright awful parody of themselves (1999’s By Your Side). Even a live album (2002’s Live), which should have been the Crowes’ “ace in the hole,” failed to impress, mostly due to conservative song selection light on the jamming which defines their live experience, a sub-par line-up, and a very murky mix (very much a victim of the “Loudness War,” it is almost unlistenable). Continue reading

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September 2, 2009 Posted by | Black Crowes, Blues, classic rock, Guitar, Guitars, jam band, Rock, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Collective Soul Just Can’t Shine

a92351c88da02eda51f53210.LCollective Soul – Collective Soul (Rabbit)
August 25, 2009
Roadrunner Records

Victim of Loudness War? Yes

Collective Soul initially captured the attention of rock fans worldwide with their massive 1993 hit, “Shine,” a catchy mid-tempo track that called upon all the best characteristics of 1970’s rock to produce an undeniable winner. The track was included on the band’s debut, Hints, Allegations and Things Left Unsaid, which featured more of the same kind of music and catapulted the band into mainstream popularity. It wasn’t until the band’s sophomore release, 1995’s Collective Soul, that the band truly came into their own as they unleashed four chart-topping hits and secured themselves as a viable force in rock music.

The thing that was instantly apparent about a Collective Soul album was that it was a place to store four or five songs intended for single release with four or five other songs that could only be deemed as filler. But this was generally okay, considering the songs they had to offer as singles were unmistakably catchy, containing solid riffs and arena-ready choruses that almost defied the listener not to like them. Thus, it was easy to overlook the duds that surrounded them on the album, as the singles were more than enough to make the purchase price seem worth laying out. Continue reading

August 25, 2009 Posted by | classic rock, Guitar, Guitars, Rock, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment