Doug Wahlberg Band 2015
Down-to-earth blues from Connecticut quartet bent on soaring high.
Noticed the red “ah” in “Wahlberg” on this record’s cover? That’s a very positive “ah”: a reaction to a solid, and reasonably concise, album from experienced players that focuses on songs rather than instrumental pyrotechnics which fuel them. There’s no escaping the flood of emotions in “Love When It Rains” whose trance-inducing refrain and ever-expanding thunderstorm are given a light acoustic lining, as Doug’s guitar – double-tracked on solo where sparks are flying – and voice dictate a tight groove and let the riffs rage, so it takes a streamlined AOR of the superficially tense “Can’t Wait ” to break the mold and the mood.
Yet purism’s not for Wahlberg’s band who launch into an orchestral uplift on “Broken” and stitch big chorus to a spiritual canvas in “The Lake” with traditional blues boiled hard and heavy, while the same approach to “What If” has a prominent commercial ring to it. Not so for “Waiting On The Sun” with catchiness coming off in dramatic strokes, and the piano-driven balladry of “Nothing”: two pieces which cut deep to Doug’s beating heart. So if there’s a slight detachment in “Torture” that signs the record off, it’s a fitting, open-ended farewell to a strong debut – strong enough to elevate the band into any radar’s view.