Speaking In Shadows

Reed Turchi

Devil Down, 2016


REVIEW BY: Benjamin Ray


Imagine if Dan Auerbach wanted to record a Velvet Underground album but had only been listening to Beck and T-Rex for two weeks, and you'll have a general sense of Reed Turchi's debut solo album.

Turchi stepped away from the blues-rock band that bears his name after four albums to record this effort, and although blues is woven throughout the mood here, it's a very modern, late-night take on the genre. Refreshingly, there's a lack of self-importance, too; the songs are well-played and arranged, but they are all loose and approachable (even the serious ones, like "Texas Mist"), and only one runs longer than four minutes. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The classic rock influences like T-Rex, Creedence Clearwater Revival, and the occasional Velvet Underground pop up in songs like "Juggling Knives" and "Ima Bore," while "Offamymind" could give the Black Keys a run, hewing closer to El Camino in sound and spirit. "Ima Bore," in particular, begins like a spy movie and moves through an upfront bluesy guitar riff, with a shimmering instrumental bridge, set to relatable lyrics.

Turchi can be funny, but he doesn't make a show of it. His sense of humor is most evident on "Everybody's Waiting (For The End)," which pokes fun at survivalist wingnuts who are so worried about what might happen that they completely miss all that life has to offer. On the flip side, Turchi also has moments of lyrical repetition, such as "Drawn And Quartered," which is fine musically but repeats the same vocal hook in the middle at least half a dozen times, for no real reason.

"Looking Up Past Midnight" evokes the time in its title, a swirling late-night drunken reverie. Turchi's vocal style is laidback and a bit slurry, so this sort of song comes naturally. Elsewhere, a funky Memphis groove carries "Flesh Of Gold," which is allegedly based on a BBC documentary in which filmmakers were challenged to reduce the whole of human history to 100 objects, though the lyrics have nothing to do with the concept. The stomping beat and Turchi's restrained guitar solo would have been good enough, but Art Edmaiston's sax playing throughout and Paul Taylor's bass work elevate the song to a higher level. Pity that it ends after three minutes; if Turchi's next album was like this, it would be fantastic.

Speaking In Shadows manages to be both thoughtful and fun, the kind of disc with enough details to warrant repeated listens and enough charm to coast by during a nighttime drive or pool night at the local bar once the revelers and assholes are gone and the quieter, more thoughtful men are in charge of the jukebox.

Rating: B-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



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