Monday, January 14, 2008

Reviews:: Luke Doucet Blood's Too Rich

Luke Doucet is a seasoned pro that's watched the odometer turn for more years than you can imagine. A full-time guitarist since he was a young man, Doucet has played countless styles of music and this record seems to be his subtle tip of the cap to each one. Like most Canadians, Doucet grew up with Neil Young and clearly that inspires him on Blood's Too Rich, but so many other genres help form his sound on this record.

Whether it's his Stray Cat strut or his noir-influence (although I'm not sure how well it works, Doucet's valiant attempt to change The Lovecats to a rockabilly, floor stomper is admirable), this record seems to be a collection of stories and sounds he's picked up on the road. On Blood's Too Rich, Doucet hits the listener with a roots-rock anthem that sounds better the louder you play it, but the song turns into a Mascisesque axe showcase. The solo drives forward, and while this might not be a recipe for success, I don't think Doucet cares much. This is his record, it's up to you to decide if you enjoy it or not.

The AM radio ditty, Cleveland, follows the same pattern. Topping seven-minutes, the slow moving love song plays like a memory montage (but does include the great slogan "Free Pete Rose"), before jumping into a three minute guitar solo mashup to end the song. Delicate steel adds to the Southern feel, and you can't help but think of this as a track Doucet would have used to showcase his skills back in the day. You know when a band has a catchy song, but half way through just fades to the back and let's the guitarist go to work.

Doucet still writes dusty country tracks that float along like a nice breeze, but he seems quite happy to break out of the standard molds and add intricate guitar work wherever he can. That's not to say the tracks aren't accessible. The Whiskeytown drive of and horn flourishes of The Comandante grab you instantly, so does the beautiful melody of Motorbike. First Day (In The New Home Town) somehow toes the line between Neil young and the alternative rock that got serious radio play in the early nineties but never seems dated. With the first power strum of the electric, you are instantly transported to your adolescence. That overwhelming sense of freedom you got from knowing that nothing mattered. The heavy strums of the acoustic sweetens the extra bit of grit he adds with the electric and dueling vocals.

But it's the constant shifts and embellishments that make this record work. Out of nowhere, he blasts a blues number with beer bottle percussion about the day Rick Danko died. It stands out from the rest of the record, but somehow still fits into the whole idea of Blood's Too Rich. Doucet made a record that is 100% what he wanted, and told the critics to be damned.

The results might not be for everyone, but the effort warrants a listen. On the surface there are so many easy ways to dismiss the project; songs are too long, have too many solos, but it's easier to just sit back and enjoy it. Doucet made a record with no reservations, leaving nothing on the table and I think he pulled it off. The material at its best crackles and at its worst is still better than most things you hear today.

MP3:: Beacon On The Southpaw
MP3:: I Wish I Was American - exclusive
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Posted at 3:05 PM by ack :: 0 comments

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