Tuesday, February 3, 2009

February 3: Dax Riggs, "We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love"

Artist: Dax Riggs
Album: We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love
Year: 2007
Label: Fat Possum

In a time in music when everything is produced to the nth degree, Dax Riggs' is a breath of fresh air as Dax and his band nail each and every track on this dark return to raw rock and roll. Though the entire record has a beautifully dark ambiance, it manages to avoid being cliché.

Blending elements of blues, grunge, goth, and punk, We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love somehow flew below the radar of the “music press.” Taking the White Stripes’ stripped down studio feel and combining it with the sheer urgency of punk, Dax bangs out 15 masterful tracks in a shade over 35 minutes. The range runs from the acoustic “Ouroboros” to the bluesy “Night Is The Notion” to the sheer rock of "Scarlett Of Heaven Nor Hell.” The dingy, unprocessed sound keeps the songs together as one brillantly coheseive unit. Whether the band is crashing through an all out punk rock scorcher, or digging a deep, foot-stomping groove, it is quite clear that the lineup on We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love are phenomenal musicans with no musical boundaries.

Dax Riggs keeps things bare bones with instrumentation, only veering from the guitar-bass-drums forumla for touches of menacing pianos and organs. In many cases, such a simple formula fails to work. This however, is not one of those cases. The drum tone on the record is absolutely perfect and the listener gets the feeling that the drummer is playing directly behind their ears. The vocals are also precisely placed and Riggs sings straight to the listener, drawing them into his world. The guitars grind and growl around the bassline and create an ideal platform for Dax's unmistakable vocals.

Lyrically, the songs follow similar grim themes and yet the record is upbeat and fast paced. Riggs goes from nearly spoken delivery to sensational scream-singing in a matter of notes and makes clear that, like his music, his voice knows no bounds. Also, some may find a similarity in the albums' cover to those of rocker Andrew W.K. This is most likely a very intentional reference as WK produced this wrecking ball of a rock record.

The term "garage rock" has been beaten to death over the last decade by critics across the world. It seems that any time a band doesn't perfect-pitch vocals or overdub a dozen guitar tracks, they are suddenly "edgy" and "raw." When Dax Riggs released We Sing Of Only Blood Or Love, he gave the world a perfect paradigm of how the "garage rock" sound should be played. From end to end, the album is a faith-restoring rock and roll tour de force.

Standout tracks: "When I Was Bleedin'," "Living Is Suicide," and "Wall Of Death."

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I didn't know my man AWK produced this?!? Flippin sweet!