Bleeker Erase You Album Review
If the Black Keys and Cage The Elephant had a charming baby boy, he’d enter the world with a bounce in his step and a bit of snarl plastered on his face. He’d be a pugnacious rocker dripping with grit and passion. And, he’d sound a hell of a lot like Bleeker.
Let me get right to the point. I love this album. Simply put, it’s the sort of raucous guitar rock that is generally missing from today’s rock landscape. Bleeker is a veteran trio from Canada who have already been toiling around the rock scene for more than a decade. Despite their young age, they’ve figured out who they want to be in a musical sense and that’s good news for those of us who enjoy good old fashioned rock ‘n roll.
Will Erase You be the album that launches their career to uncharted levels? With the unpredictably fickle US Radio market, who the hell really knows, but it should be. Nonetheless, the album is an excellent offering, well-stocked with powerful rock tracks.
Erase You is one of a handful of albums from the past few years that have immediately impressed me as robust collections of straight-forward, hard-driving rock. I’m reminded of my first listens to the new efforts from Red Sun Rising and Citizen Zero, two Midwest bands just dripping with potential, and making inroads on the Active Rock radio scene.
The best example of the band’s sound is “Highway,” their powerful first single. It’s a frenetic rocker with an addictive foot-tapping beat, slick guitar riffs and catchy vocals. It’s a fun rock song that sounds great loud, and isn’t that the essence of rock ‘n roll?
The album features eleven gritty, raw rockers, best enjoyed at high volume through good speakers. There are numerous nods to sounds that made classic rock what it is today. A handful of songs are constructed on a nice bluesy foundation, highlighted by filthy guitars, heavy bass and raw vocals. This is the band that you want to find on the other side of the door after plunking down ten bucks outside a rundown, packed bar in the industrial part of town.
Their sound is distinctive and fresh, but they channel some of the same old grooves that made rock ‘n roll great. If you’re thinking Royal Blood and The Black Keys, you’re on the right track. But Taylor Perkins dishes out much more varied vocals, hence my earlier comparison to Cage The Elephant. Bleeker stands on their own and delivers a thoroughly enjoyable and distinctive sound, and it feels so comfortable and familiar flowing through my headphones.
Stand out tracks include the invigorating “Still Got Love,” and “Every Time You Call.” The two tracks are already radio worthy and destined to become live staples for Bleeker. The band’s blues chops are nicely displayed on “Getting Out” and “Erase You.” They’re two tracks that would appeal to any fans of the blues-infused classic rock that powered the 70’s and 80’s.
The album revolves around an unpolished lo-fi vibe that feels natural and unforced. Most of the songs feel like live recordings that drip with passion. It’s a refreshing feel in an era where so much of the music that assaults our ears is over-produced and hollow. Erase You is the opposite. It’s an invigorating collection of full-bore, hip shaking magic that’s a blast to listen to.
“Close My Eyes” is a grand anthemic ballad cut from the Big 80’s Stadium Rock mold. And, for good measure, they throw in a slick cover of Elvis’s “Radio, Radio.” It’s a rollicking version with better vocals than the original, which was a damn good song in its own right.
My favorite track is “I’m Not Laughing Now.” It’s a more tender offering, but just as addictive as most of the rest of the album. Perkins shares the backstory: “I had an old, shitty computer. Six years ago, I recorded it an empty bathtub and used a cereal box for a snare. It was a terrible recording …called ‘Cereal Box.’ It went through years of people not hearing it. We copied the demo as much as we could, since it was so simple with a huge, hooky chorus. It’s the best song I’ve ever written.”
I didn’t love every song on the album, but respect the band’s approach and their willingness to push themselves in a different direction on the more poppy cuts like “Emergency” and “Where’s Your Money.”
It’s not perfect, and it’s not for everyone, but it’s just what my ears needed. It’s a supercharged rock ‘n roll album that needs to be heard… often and loud… I love this kind of rock and Erase You will undoubtedly find itself on my album of the year listings – it’s that good.
The album hits the street this Friday and needs to be on your radar. Buy it, don’t just listen on Spotify, because it’s worthy of your attention and early sales make a huge difference to bands these days.
And, check out some other killer new music we’ve dug up for your enjoyment here: RARA’s Fresh Crops
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