Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: The Bloodshots - On Fire

I never got why people opt to buy Tylenol instead of going for the generic brand. Really, all you're buying is the name, both pills do the same god damned thing. Sure, the Tylenol looks fancier, but your headache induced from  a 8 hour marathon watching Alf is going to get cured the same way by literally the same combination of lab-created drugs. I know there's a comfort in knowing what you get, but 99% of the time, things work out regardless. The Bloodshots new album, On Fire, reminded me of this bizarre rant.

The Bloodshots play some of the most generic rockabilly I've ever heard, but I'm sure it's intentional. You can try to go psycho-billy, but once you've crossed that acid-enhanced line, there's often no coming back. It's a sub-genre that really never flatters anyways, but presses home with a comfortable familiarity to everything that makes it acceptable. Trust me when I say I mean that as a sincere form of respect, because I know calling something 'basic' can rub people the wrong way. All I mean is nothing ever strays from the ordinary.

"Waste Away", with its sweet Americana vibe induced into the song, really hit home for me. It still feels right at home as the music you'd want to listen to on your way to Vegas, but there's something unique here that plays into a different hand, and that's why I enjoyed it. It comes with its dark side, but only in the form of disappointment, and the reason for that disappointment is because there aren't more tracks like this on the album. But if we had that, this song wouldn't stand out in the first place, would it?

Songs like "Watchu Do" and "Straight To Hell" are more up-tempo songs that might enable you to break out the twist or skank or whatever dance moves you people do nowadays. "Straight To Hell" stands out over these two mainly because it has the slightest punk edge to it. You won't be doing a circle pit to it, no, but I can see whiskey-infused punks ganging up together to group mosh through whatever crowd might be watching these guys live. 

You have tracks like "La La La Love" and "You're A Cat" that walk the sensible line and never stray to be anything else but pure rockabilly, and then you've got other tracks like "Long Gone, So Long", which, well, do the same thing. It's unfortunate the genre doesn't have much room for maturation, because I know these guys aim to have one hell of a time making music, but everything remains very baseline. It's less the bands fault and more the people who never tried to be pioneers of the genre in the first place.

On Fire is like the vanilla ice cream of album, it's just kind of there and doesn't wow you, but doesn't make you want to vomit blood in disappointment either. If they can change their approach in the future, and try to blend in more genres and maybe add in a few surprises, The Bloodshots could stand a chance at really making a name for themselves in the world of underground rockabilly music (That sentence came across as more comical than I'd anticipated). But, for right now, they're as simple as you can get. - Shane

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