MIA Records, 1997

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


It seems like any time the media gets their hands on a new buzz phrase to describe some type of music, they end up using it to death by describing every band to come out as falling under that label. Alternative rock got clobbered that way, and it seems like the same thing is about to happen with the phrase "stoner rock".my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

I don't know whether Boston-based Roadsaw actually qualifies as such a band; good Lord, if every band that enjoyed firing up a doobie got labeled like this, Cypress Hill would be considered "stoner rock". I don't care what this band smokes on their own time; all I know is that their second full-length disc Nationwide (a re-release from 1997) is an enjoyable platter.

The band - vocalist Craig Riggs, guitarist Darryl Shepard (who has since left the band), bassist Tim Catz and drummer Hari Hassan - has a natural melodic style, making their music stand out among a lot of the other stuff I've heard classified as "stoner rock". This stuff, unlike some of the sludge I've heard over the last few months, actually rocks!

The sound on Nationwide is a little on the raunchy side; I might have opted to have increased the treble and lowered the bass just a notch or two. But otherwise, it's a pretty pleasant trip. While there aren't many moments from each member that will make your hair stand on end, it's the collective work that's the key. Tracks like "In Threes," "Thanks For Nothing" and "Black Flower" all show why many people are considering this band to be the next standard bearer in the genre that spawned acts like Kyuss.

Roadsaw's musical style reminds me a little bit of the band Trouble, with their rhythm guitar assault on the senses; the vocals from Riggs and Catz just help to finish framing the picture. What it all leads up to with Nationwide is a really good effort that transcends any mere categorization.

You don't need to be a fan of stoner rock to appreciate the progress that Roadsaw shows on Nationwide; all you have to be able to do is recognize when a job is well done.

Rating: A-

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of MIA Records, and is used for informational purposes only.