Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
Genres: Pop, Rock, Classic Rock
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Not the strongest Blues Traveler album, but very adventurous
Steven E. Wonchoba | Minneapolis, MN USA | 09/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This album took me a little while to warm up to. I can remember when TRUTH BE TOLD came out, I was immediately taken in by the opening, raunchy notes of "Unable To Get Free". BASTARDOS will probably not jump down your throat the way TRUTH might have, but as soon as you accept it as not falling into the mold of the last several albums, this album is one of the most adventurous in the band's catalog.
There's definitely a different feel to BASTARDOS. Its 14 songs are the most on a Blues Traveler album since the outstanding SAVE HIS SOUL, and stylistically it runs all over the place. The band taps into influences that have never been heard on a BT album before now. Two of the songs ("Nail" and "That Which Doesn't Kill You") have an unmistakable Steely Dan flavor. "Nefertiti" (one of the album's best songs) sounds a little bit like "The Ballad Of Jenny Ledge" from early 90s Toy Matinee. And "She And I" sounds very much like early-to-mid career Chicago. The rest of the songs all delve into different musical directions, and if not for John Popper's voice and harp, it would be very difficult to pin down any of these songs as having a definitive "Blues Traveler" sound. Again, very adventurous.
Popper again handles all of the lyrical duties; and as has been the case for the last several albums, Chan Kinchla's musical contributions ("What Could Possibly Go Wrong", "That Which Doesn't Kill You", and especially the opening track, "You Can't Stop Thinking About Me") are musically among the most gutsy on the album. But this time, the other band members contribute a number of real diamonds in the rough. Ben Wilson's "Nail" and "Nefertiti" are both outstanding, and the slightly off-balance rhythm of Tad Kinchla's "Rubberneck" makes it one of the most interesting tracks on the album.
Finally, "Amber Awaits", while it is not quite the best track on the album, is very good, and certainly the most radio-friendly -- and therefore it's probably the best choice for the opening single. It's not going to vault BT back into the Billboard Top 40, but that's probably the last thing anyone reading this review cares about.
But alas, despite all the adventurousness of this album, there are definitely a couple of problems with it. Most notably, the mix is very poor. Popper's vocals, especially on the first few songs, is washed out way behind the music, almost to the point of distraction. Also, Popper's musical contributions, ("Can't Win True Love", "Leaning In", and "She Isn't Mine") are fairly weak, and the afterthought harp solo on "She Isn't Mine" feels completely phoned in.
Overall, I give the album a soft 4 stars; more like 3 and a half. I really like all the directions that the album goes in, but I would have preferrred a couple more meaty tracks like "Carolina Blues", "Unable To Get Free", or "Stand""
Possibly Their Best (or at least, My Favorite)
J. Oliveira | California | 09/17/2005
(5 out of 5 stars)
"If you've never listened to Blues Traveler before, start now with 'Bastardos!'. If you've given them a chance before and didn't like them, give them another shot with 'Bastardos!'. This album is one of the strongest to be released this year, and quite possibly Blues Traveler's best. And Blues Traveler is one of the few bands in the jam band community that have released some very solid efforts ('Blues Traveler', 'Four' and 'Truth Be Told' to just name a few), but this one, in my opinion, tops them all. Even 2003's 'Truth Be Told' was a healthy establishment of the "new" Blues Traveler (while 2001's 'Bridge' was exactly that; a transition from the old to the new - bridging the gap between what was and what will be), but 'Bastardos!', in my opinion, still tops it. John Popper usually, as many other artists do, writes a lot about lost and unrequited love, but the first song alone, "You Can't Stop Thinking About Me", shows how his songwriting style is changing. "Amber Awaits" features the most interesting guitar riff and bass line I've heard in a long time. The perfect and rather fitting segue of "Money Back Guarantee" and "Can't Win True Love", are both packed with incredible emotion and raw power. "Leaning In" showcases Popper's amazing vocal abilities and delivery. "She And I", probably the album's epiccenter, prominantly features a 3-piece horn section - something completely new for the band. This track also showcases newbie Traveler, keyboardist Ben Wilson, with a truly mezmerizing solo. "Rubberneck" offers up a completely original (and hilarious) song subject; something that needs to be heard to be believed. The album ends gracefully with "The Children Of The Night", one of the band's most heavily produced songs. This album may be lacking the classic "hard driven, angry" Blues Traveler song, such as "Crash Burn", "Defense and Desire" or "You're Burning Me", but the entire band (as they all had a big part in writing for the album) have a lot to say that nothing is lacking at all."
If Looks Could Kill I'd Die Today
Scooter McGavin | Ohio | 09/19/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"During the return of old time rock and roll during the mid 90's, Blues Traveler made their mark with the breakout album Four. They then followed up with the sadly overlooked Straight on Till Morning. Sadly after that, the band when in a tailspin that was so bad, it landed them their very own Behind the Music. But things have gone better lately which brings us to the latest Blues Traveler album, ¡Bastardos!
The album starts off with You Can't Thinking About Me, a more artsy type a song than the band is known for. The song stars with some guitars would sound more at home on a Radiohead album along with some voice distortion, but by the time the chorus comes around, it back to more of the traditional bluesy nature of the band. After that is the more playful Amber Awaits which is bouncy much like the earlier Felicia and features the trademark harmonica.
In addition to You Can't Stop Thinking About Me, expands musically throughout the whole album such as the synthesizer heavy Rubberneck, Nefertiti and also Can't Win True Love which is also built around a different type of beat. Nail on the other hand is heavy on the bass while John Popper sings in a different cadence. Money Back Guarantee for the first time to my knowledge feature some female backing vocals while She and I utilizes a horn section. But at the heart of the album is a blues influence, harmonica driven songs, and great storytelling such as After What and She Isn't Mine, that that brought the band fame in the first place."