Gasfoodlodging with their debut album "Blue Collar Rain" are clearly hoping to find themselves in that lucky 1%. At the forefront is Dave Griffiths, the songwriter, vocalist and guitarist of the band who interestingly plays keyboard on some of the tracks and was also involved in some of it's production. This is not a lazy guy we have here.
This LP dips in and out of some great musical stylings and textures, from 60's hippy trippy fun of "Banging Drum" which contains a somewhat psychedelia feel with it's swirling rhythmic 60's "leslie speaker" guitar effect through to great ballads like "Wherever" where Griffiths's lyrics really do shine. "From the city and all this neon, from the concrete down to the sea" "from the length of this country, from the sleepy towns to the loud" as he describes the unknown whereabouts of someone precious that has been lost. There are some lovely guitar textures on this track.
"Corporate Disease" delivers a dose of punk pop. Simplistic lyrics of corporate greed and working class strife would echo many people's opinion on the outrageous class system we live in and for that reason is very apt in 2017. Griffiths delivers yet another earnest vocal and the whole song fuses together really well. A great track with commercial appeal that could sit perfectly on any TV or Film soundtrack that deals with corporate greed and control.
The playlist then heads back to the musical style of the opening track with the groove laden "Under the Texas Sun" It tell the listener a tale of two high school girlfriends who fall off the beaten path and end up being involved in a murder in the hot and sultry state of Texas. I'm not sure whether this song is based on true events or not, but either way Griffiths seems to be definitely having fun during it and it shows. Some great guitar textures once again.
Following on next is the slow indie rock of "Play it from the Heart" that is probably the most commercially appealing track on the LP after "Corporate Disease". Griffiths is a fan of the late American comedian Bill Hicks and on this track he waste's no time in echoing Hick's opinion on the music business. "I've had enough of Taylor Swift and those same old romantic hits" sings Griffiths on the opening line through to "I just like my music played from the heart, after all that's the most important part".
"We've done alright" enters the playlist frame with it's country rock feel next. Griffiths's choice of guitar chords on this one are wonderful as he leads the bass and drums around from pillar to post musically. The feel good factor of the lyrics are great too "Like a big truck that needs to turn around, I may need to go to some other town, but if there's you and there's me we will be alright". Simple lyrics yet great lyrics for a country rock song of this ilk
We then get transported to the soul brother look of the 70's on the next track for the funky one chord rap melody of "Another Day Gone". Griffiths leads the listener through a list of events covering the period of 24hrs but with the most important part of the day being "Guitar Time!" Some great humor is on offer here, "My neighbour comes he's a handsome guy, he's always got a girl that stays at night, I hear that bed go bang bang bang as he plays her songs by the Wu Tang Clan" (The Wu Tang Clan being a hip hop collective from New York if you didn't know who they were!).
Other tracks include some good old fashioned rock & roll on "Daniella Delray" which appears to be a story of a sex obsessed office girl who goes through men like lawyers go through paperwork and "Solitudeville" that covers the topic of loneliness and how destructive it can be. This is my favorite track off the LP. I You can feel the sadness cut through on every note he plays during the guitar segments and the lyrics are exceptional.
"Blue Collar Rain" does not contain professional industry standard production, unsigned bands can rarely afford that luxury. But personally I didn't care one little bit by it's absence. Call me old fashioned, but if I like a song then I like it, whether it's been produced in a kitchen or a high end recording studio. "Blue Collar Rain" is a very impressive debut LP of original songs that contain some splendid songwriting touches. I hope this is one success story I get to hear about.
Matt Hayes. © 2017
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