Independent release, 2005
REVIEW BY: Jeff Clutterbuck
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 11/04/2005
I've heard a lot of American and British music. It's pretty much all that gets played on the ol' iPod. Lately, though, regrets have started to seep into my one-track mind. After all, there are more countries besides the USA and the UK out there. So when these indie releases come my way, and they happen to sound a little different than the usual, I've sworn to give them more attention. Good thing I did.
Blunation offers up a variety of different styles and genres fused together to create a unique sound. At times, their approach reminded me of how Stevie Wonder does things. If you gather up good music, it's going to be good music no matter what.
For the most part, this is a Latin-sounding album, meaning the EP is heavy on the acoustic guitar and conga. As a result, Blunation most certainly cannot be accused of crafting sterile, studio driven songs. These are tracks that would be just as good live as they are in the studio.
Things get cracking with the opener, "Life…" The dueling guitars trade excellent riffs back and forth. Take a metal song where you've got a distinguishable three-chord progression; the problem is that most of the time, the song beats you over the head with those same sounds. Not the case with Latin music and not with Blunation.
Life… gets a little funky with "Beauty Of Nature," which further cemented the Stevie Wonder connection I made earlier. The keyboards used on the track sound remarkably like those on "Maybe Your Baby," or "Superstition." Here I shall make mention of the lead vocals from Herk Serrano. They work within the context of the Life…in that there are no jarring moments that make you wonder "what the hell just happened?" On the same token, Serrano isn't the most amazing singer in the world. "Average" is plastered over the entire EP when he sings. But, the important point is someone else's vocals would not fit in well with the band's sound.
"Sky Pearls" locks into a pleasant reggae beat. While most attempts at reggae from non-reggae artists are poorly conceived and contrived, here the reggae sound blends into what the listener has already heard. Things close out with a live rendition of "Dream Away." Blunation gets major props from me for including this track, because it sounds live. The audience is into it, singing along, and the band feeds off that energy. While the weakest link of the EP can be found here, it still was a fun listen.
This is the sort of music I'd play during a barbecue in the summer. No artistic pretensions, just fun music. I've said this of other artists and every time it's true. We don't listen to music to analyze it, we listen primarily to enjoy it and have some fun. My advice; just go along for the ride.