His Blues

Dead Flowers

Idol Records, 2014


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Anyone whose faith in rock 'n' roll is wavering due to the piles of computer generated and regurgitated pop that infiltrates so much of today's culture needs to listen to Dead Flowers. Hailing from Dallas, Texas, these four guys play the sort of earnest, gritty garage rock that strives to emulate their live sound rather than concocting some studio production that can't or won't be replicated live. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Side A starts with “I'm Leaving” (yes, it's a CD but is labeled with two sides), where a throbbing bass line and tense energy comes so close to an explosive rocker but instead sits somewhere between mild and chugging bar rock. “I Don't Know” follows and is more forceful with the vocals and a gritty garage-rock template that parallels The Replacements at their most vicious. “Most Of The Time” then brings a well-done and memorable melodic aspect to the equation, and “Pieces Of Me,” one of the album's best, is a speedy rocker that the Goo Goo Dolls forgot to write during the Superstar Car Wash era. The first side closes with “I've Been There Before,” which is a calm moment from the driving guitars and thundering drum kit, complete with a thick bass groove and soulful organs that get close to lounge music.

The second half of the album is equally strong with the quick acoustic strumming of “Here I Am,” which isn't far off from a Chuck Ragan tune, before building into a muscular rock tune that sounds right at home among punks turned acoustic stars like Tim Barry. The quietest moment on the latter half, “Gospel Of Despair,” is another soulful rocker with timeless and intricate bluesy guitar work that erupts into a stadium rock anthem before dissipating back to a plaintive guitar. Near the end, "Anyone But Me" is a searing selection that brings the energy in the earlier part of the disc back, with a visceral rhythm section that meets calmer moments of reflection. The album exits on "Room Eight," an introspective and sparse closer that reminds us that despite the often frenetic pace that could incite bar room brawls, these four guys have a tender heart beneath the loudness of His Blues.

If I could amend my year-end list from 2014, this album would be at the top.

Rating: A

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