Unit 233 Media 2021
Rising out of Phoenix, young foursome fathom the depths of heavy blues to find a shelter from the storm they brew.
Irreverent yet tied to tradition, noisy yet nuanced, brash yet emotional: that’s what it takes for any artist to play the sort of music these Arizonans do – and they do it in style. Four years after they officially formed an ensemble, “Drowning In Blue” emerges as something more than a simple sophomore effort – rather, there’s a record bent on searing the listener’s worldview with a pinch of preaching and a tad of intimidation. Still, fire and brimstone rarely feel sweeter and sinning has never been so tempting – for redemption offered here is relentlessly melodic.
It shouldn’t be surprising, though, given one of the two concert tracks flaunted close to the end comes from the group’s debut and carries the title “Doing My Best” – and the musicians live up to this statement whose sparse, if molten, sonics show their artful reserve which the second album’s title track introduces with an entrancing hoodoo humming. Such a hypnotic flow is tastily chopped by Brandon Teskey’s guitar twang and Bruce Jensen’s bass rumble, before Chris Tex’s eerily insistent groove, vocal harmonies and slider roll propel “Shadow Of The Valley” towards the Delta. Once there, Jensen’s honeyed pipes – so impressive on the desperate ballad “1,000 Miles Away” – encounter Alyssa Swartz’s sassy roar that will render the vibrant “New Delilah” irresistible.
The singers join forces to shoot the acoustically driven, boisterous “Crucible” way up to the skies and let six strings sting the funk, infusing it with a lot of gusto – but then the tension decreases, and even the light swagger of “I’m Still Me” can’t kick the spirit high again until the dirge of “Deathbed Blues” anchors the quartet’s witchery and grounds their magic in infernal eternity. Indeed, they belong in the darkness, so waiting for the sun seems futile – the foursome are as great as they are.