Sunday, May 18, 2014

John Butler Trio - Flesh & Blood

2014 -  Vanguard

By Phillip Smith; May 17, 2014

Flesh & Blood, the sixth studio album by Australian roots band, John Butler Trio is a sheer delight.  Filled with rich melodies and poignant lyrics, this eleven track album goes down smooth and refreshing like iced lemonade in the summertime.  Backing Butler this time around is bassist Byron Luiters and drummer Grant Gerathy.   

Butler creates a trippy environment for “Blame It On Me”, riding a wave of trance-inducing beats laced with spacy effects.  It’ s so fascinating, I find myself melting into the song, while imagining how enjoyable it would be to hear an extended version of it played live.   The use of steel pans gives the super-poppy “Only One” an infusion of Caribbean flavor.  This is one of those songs that can easily get stuck in one’s head. 
“Spring to Come”, the opening track, catches my attention with a rhythm reminiscent of Rusted Root, and a message of hope and encouragement reminding us that ‘out of the darkness, only the light can come’.  

Gerathy uses a very industrial sounding percussion to begin “Livin’ in the City” with. After a few measures, the song melts into a really funky rhythm accented with bluesy and psychedelic guitar riffs.  Like Anthony Keidis, Butler rolls his vocals out quickly and very pronounced.  I really like this one.  “Devil Woman” is another track I am infatuated with. Tribal beats set a foundation for a wild old-time spiritual romp intended to exorcise a different kind of demon.

A splendid album to listen to, Flesh and Blood invokes an assortment of emotions and feelings.  Some songs put me in my quiet space, as others make me want to dance.  I just can’t seem to stop listening.

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