Artist: The Record Company
Album: Give It Back to You
Label: Concord Records
Release Date: 02/12/2016
The first swampy bass licks of “Off the Ground” ought to prick up the ears of any blues, rock, Americana or, let’s face it, music fan, and the rest of this record affirms that visceral response. The Record Company’s three members—intrepid bassist Alex Stiff, man-about-skins Marc Cazorla and the multi-talented cyclone that is Chris Vos—put out energy and sound that many a sextet can only dream of. Ladies and gentlemen, this is rock ‘n’ roll as it should be.
The bluesy “Rita Mae Young” starts off with bass and drums, as the Record Company songs are wont to do, and gives off a dark, eerie vibe; as Vos sings, “My Rita was a bright light in a dark shiny morn/Yes, she’s gone,” I can imagine a grainy video showing a body being dumped deep in the woods. Most songs, like “Feels So Good,” combine heart-thumping percussion, raw passion, unbridled energy and a hook a minute. Stiff’s bass often takes lead, though not because Vos’ guitar (acoustic, electric and lap steel) lacks punch, which it has a-plenty.
Rock ‘n’ roll colored with R&B, rockabilly, plenty of blues and Delta down-and-dirty, Give It Back to You has enough variation to hold a listener’s interest for ten cuts, but still the songs sound like parts of a whole, not some disjointed experiment in different styles. That said, several tunes should come with a medical warning: if you’re at risk for heart attack, consult your doctor or play “Hard Day Coming Down” and “Turn Me Loose” at low volume until you see how the music affects you; couples might have a condom handy for one of the CD’s few ballads, “This Crooked City”—it’s especially persuasive. Just sayin’.
Prepare yourself with Give It Back to You, then catch this dynamite band live while you can still get affordable tickets.