Dan Baird and Homemade Sin - ‘Rollercoaster’ (JCPL Music) Print E-mail
CD Reviews
Written by Gerald Stansbury   
Friday, 09 June 2017 04:00

rollercoaster-300x300After the brilliant ‘SoLow’ album, I wondered if Dan and the full band could strike lightning twice in a span of a few months. Homemade Sin has created a great rock album that largely celebrates the joys in life where ‘SoLow’ addressed growing older and how quickly time goes by. As I mentioned in my review of ‘SoLow,’ I hold the ‘Circus Life’ album by Homemade Sin as their pinnacle, but I think that may have changed with ‘Roller coaster.’ I approached the album with the excitement generated by ‘SoLow’ and some apprehension as ‘Get Loud’ didn’t connect with me as strongly as ‘Circus Life’ did.

 

‘Shake It Til It’s Sore’ opens with a joyous guitar riff followed by the brilliant line “stumble through the morning, time to butter my bread.” This song is a smile inducing monster that would make a great opening to their live shows for the next 20 or 30 years. It is like they bottled the essence of shambolic good time rock n roll and made it even better. Following up that kind of opening was never going to be easy but the band proceed with the blues rock ‘Knocked Out Cold,’ which slows the pace a bit. The guitar work by Dan and Warner Hodges is terrific throughout the song with a shining solo leading into the last verse.

 

In terms of Dan’s history, there is only one song on ‘Love Songs for the Hearing Impaired’ that I tend to skip, which is ‘Baby Talk.’ Why do I mention that? ‘Roll On Chattahoochee’ brings back memories of that song in its intro and first verse musically, but I do not see myself skipping this song. The band might want to try to send this song to some Texas radio stations here that play red dirt artists such as Reckless Kelly, Cody Canada and the Departed, and the Randy Rogers Band as it has a hint of red dirt in the rock.

 

The guitar work continues to shine with the album off to an incredibly hot start. ‘Licka Sense’ brings back the shambolic rock of the opener with Dan’s distinctive vocals careening over the music; I anticipate this song slowly evolves to a faster tempo in the live setting. This is also a song that brings out the air guitar with a break in the song showcasing that this band might be the best there is today at producing and mixing their music. The break features the band playing, Dan singing, and hand claps in line with the drums. Everything is audible with nothing overshadowing anything. Take a bow Warner Hodges and Joe Blanton.

 

The album continues to evolve with the sing along ‘Let It Shine.’ If this was still a world where singles mattered, I could see this being the third or fifth release off this album. I imagine fans will already be singing this back to the band as they tour throughout the year. ‘Love Gone Wrong’ takes a sped up blues riff and reminds me of the Georgia Satellites (musically) with a song that automatically gets my foot moving in rhythm. Here in America, I could see this song seamlessly fitting into a soundtrack of something like ‘Bull Durham’ because it is timeless classic rock.

 

The album comes into the midway point with a slow heart wrenching ballad called ‘Do My Worst.’ The band shines in a song that emotes pain and grief in capturing those moments where our faults and imperfections of being human burn us to our cores. Dan’s co-writer on this song was Will Hoge who has also released a list of strong (no pun intended if you know Will’s song by that title) albums. Micke and Warner do an awesome job with the background vocals here. The feel of good times and lightness return with ‘The Other Side’ serving as a quasi-title track on the album. This is another song that immediately pulled me into the album as the chorus is contagious and would make a great radio song. The band pulls it off without repeating the same phrase or word over and over again.

 

 

The first few bars of ‘It’s Alright’ always remind me of AC/DC for some reason. The song is a midtempo sing along and might be the one song that I tend to forget after the album is played, even though I enjoy it while it is playing. For me, it is the runt of a very strong litter of songs. The slow burning electric blues of ‘Can Ya Hear Me Now, follows with the band again shining across its nearly 5 minutes. The vocals allow the song to breathe and flow with this just being another example of the excellence Mauro Magellan and Micke Bjork create in the rhythm section. The tempo picks back up with ‘Lay It Down’ providing another upbeat catchy rock song with a strong riff and vocal hook. The AC/DC influence creeps back in on this one as well as some of the straight ahead rock songs of Royal Court of China (imagine that).

 

The album concludes with a strong one-two punch. ‘Thanks for the Memories’ comes across to me as two songs brilliantly melded together as Dan and I assume Warner each taking different parts of the song to create a real dichotomy in the feel of the song. The song packs a strong hook as the pace slowly builds. I am hoping the band incorporates this into the live show at some point as Dan told me this is the only song they have not played live yet from the record. This track has an epic feel and still clocks in at under 5 minutes. There are some bands who would have spoiled this by stretching it out to probably twice that length. The album returns to a midtempo rocker to end called ‘Bury Me Standing.’ The band shares some wisdom throughout the verses that comes with living life, learning new things, and recognizing that we need to enjoy our time on this marble as it goes by very fast.

 

‘Rollercoaster’ is an excellent album that connects with me on many levels. The musical diversity spread across the record creates an album that is never in danger of being boring while the lyrics are both insightful and recognize that sometimes a simple clever line about “buttering bread” to start a day are the best. I have kicked myself that I was a little slow in ordering this album, but I am making up for lost time with repeated plays.

 

‘Roller Coaster’ is out now. You can get your copy HERE.

 

Read our interview with Dan Baird HERE and our review of ‘SoLow’ HERE.

 

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