The Blues Are The New Black – New Music from The Apocalypse Blues Revue

New Release from The Apocalypse Blues Review

July 31, 2018 at 7:19 am


The Blues Are The New Black – Record Review of “The Shape Of Blues To Come” – New Release from The Apocalypse Blues Review

Apocalypse Blues Revue

The Shape of Blues to Come | The Apocalypse Blues Revue
Release Date: July 20, 2018 | Mascot Records

July is notorious for being a steamy month, for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. We are in the thick of summer and while some areas can be warmer than others, there are other places that are downright Hades hot. I mean, forget frying an egg on the ground, you can cook a whole rack of ribs on a blacktop road when temperatures rise in Texas, I can attest to that. And forget about walking barefoot in supple, lush green grass like summertime ads depict in glossy magazines, full of beautiful pictures from someone’s imagination. Walking barefoot in the grass where I come from is like walking on shattered glass that’s been microwaved for six minutes on high. How does this relate to the new album from the blues band The Apocalypse Blues Revue? Read on my Lovelies…read on!

Ask your typical music fan to describe “the blues” to you and I bet they’ll give you a description similar to those colorful summer ads in those glossy magazines. They may describe a blues song they are familiar with or that is played a bunch in movies or TV shows or they may describe some blues musician or a story about a blues band. But honestly, this description is just a guess. I mean, blues, this backbone of American music is where we can trace the majority of current rock, country, metal, and pop and their beginnings but the majority of us can’t accurately describe it in detail, we just know what it is.

Which is why The Apocalypse Blues Revue is such an intriguing band. Look, it has two players that are in one of the most successful and biggest hard rock/metal bands in the world for two decades. Another musician plays in one of the most iconic bands of the 70’s and then you have a man that hasn’t ever been in a national touring band. But they came together and decided to get together and play the blues. But I’m not going to go into how TABR formed and why. If you want to know that story, you can click here and read my first interview with Shannon Larkin back in 2016 when the band released their first self-titled record.

This time, the story isn’t about the rock stars and their other project. This time the story is about the music of TABR and how seemingly without provocation created The Shape Of Blues To Come. Which is kinda odd (or perfectly planned) because they do redefine or reshape the blues as we’ve known it. It’s not within the 4:4 or the standard chords and cadences of blues in the past!

A band like TABR doesn’t have to meet the lord of darkness at a railroad crossing and hand over their souls for jack!

Apocalypse Blues RevueHere’s my take on the record, The Shape Of Blues To Come, track by track:

OPEN SPACES: talk about the heat of summer, this track is steamy and hot like the Earth exhaling after the sun goes down. There’s a mystical message developing with the slinky tempo wafting from the drums and from the flicks on the strings of the bass. The guitar solo is sick AF and crawls around the places that keep the universal secrets from getting out! Or maybe the opposite not letting us in!

WE ARE ONE: if the blues could take off on a spirit piloted carpet, this may be the music that plays in the background while flying around in a dream. A lucid-like melody with a chant from the snare makes you stop and pay attention; to wake up. I dig the effect on the vocals right before the bridge to the solo. Wait for the ride to start up again around 5:45 but keep your hands inside the carpet at all times.

HELL TO PAY: we want some funk, yeah wrapped up with a sick AF toned guitar. This track bleeds blue. Those ka-pows on the downbeat brings it, Shannon! Tony crafts a love vs hate within those splits and Brian’s bass just tells it all with that low tone.

HAVE YOU HEARD: Mississippi gypsy meets Maryland vagabond; as RJ the barker bellows out his sermon with the guitars that stay over your head like a blanket to keep you from the grittiness outside it. The “come to insert preferred deity here” you may have only resides in yourself. With a stirring and spirited vocal, RJ digs in with conviction, too.

TO HELL WITH YOU: love the raw tone of the rhythm guitar echoing off the sides with the other guitar sounds. This is a song that needs to be playing at a dusty bar in the middle of Georgia somewhere, slow dancing at noon in front of complete strangers.

NOBODY RIDES FOR FREE – Mother F’er Tony and Shannon’s instruments have a full conversation that rolls back and forth between them and their instruments. I love the tempo that while cliche, sound like metal wheels on a metal track, soothing.

SINCERE – oh wow! What? Is? This?? Godam sons, this makes me think of Stevie Ray Vaughn y’all! Man, I miss that guy! Tony’s solo just perfect and the swings heard are perfectly matched.  The whole vibe makes me look around for SRV in a corner of the bar somewhere, slightly smiling while he marks out the rhythm with a few taps of the toe.  

WHAT A WAY TO GO: I like this swampy feel on a piece of music that I was drawn to from the jump. This song is so subtle in pulling you along the astral edge. Don’t be scared, you won’t fall! I love the constant pulse of the snare that reverbs off the bassline; which is badass, I might add. RJ’s got some power lungs on this song!

NOUMENAL BLUES: haunting while the step between the octave and the melody that will put you in a trance that allows you to just chill with the music. The song ends as does the record abruptly. Boom. It’s finished. Rip that band-aid off!

When their first record came out, RJ said “this ain’t your mama’s blues” and that was definitely true with the first record and with this record, it’s still true. Only “this ain’t your Mama’s blues”, flows over the chalice of music for many generations. The blues are the new black, Lovelies. And TABR has just set the bar for a blacker shade of blues.

The Shape Of Blues To Come is available for purchase now via Mascot Label Group, just look for it on most music retailers and grab a copy.

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