Do you like groove, and I mean THE groove? You know, that sentiment that makes you want to break out some weed and think back to times long gone. A time, when long, unruly hair was all the rage, ZZ Top was the ultimate measuring stick for beards, and none of that was a status symbol for select extremist rock genres.
These were also the times when crazy was the new norm, guitars wouldn’t survive the next concert, and erratic behavior was just dandy. That’s also when Blues Rock or just plain blues often spilled into the street from smoke-filled bars and underground locales. And you just wandered in to check out the source. Cell phones and the internet weren’t invented yet, but – somehow – the music still went places. Advertised on paper, printed into vinyl, and spread through good ol’ rock radio. The Swedes from Cirkus Prütz seem to fit right into the mold. Old tropes only or a true Blues Revolution? Pop that ice-cold beer, lean back, and play it loud. Groovy wisdom’s right ahead.
The RMR deckhands truly fancy a good bluesy rock piece, when it can be had, that is. Because there’s tons of outfits out there hitching their vintage Airstream to their equally old Ford Bronco1), break out their guitars, a keg of whiskey, and lead off into blues county. Trouble is to find bands that actually make an effort and try – at least – to add a new shine to a seriously old and overused genre.
Now, Blues Revolution gets you a refreshing mix of Blues, Blues Rock, and – at times – just plain rock ‘n’ roll with a modern tinge. A few stoner vibes also weaved their way into the mix that should make Purple Dawn raise their heads. Yet again, this new offering comes in bite-sized pieces that more cater to contemporary rock radio than they ever would serve sleek blues fare. In other words, the record lacks a lot of the exciting grime that White Jazz – Black Magic chiseled into vinyl with steely resolve in 2019.
It also comes as no surprise that the record loves its references, as far removed as they may be. Allman Brothers came to mind a few times. Or – more blatantly – the likes of Chuck Berry. For instance, the last track on Blues Revolution, Only Rock ‘n’ Roll, seems to step straight out of ‘Johnny Be Good’, down to the opening salvo. There’s a ton of other references and vibes that kinda range from AC/DC, over good ol’ Zep, to some Black Sabbath-ish incursions. But let’s stop here, lest we namedrop that one to its merry death.
And that’s the main gripe I have with the album. Whilst Cirkus Prütz truly are gifted musicians, the record sorely misses out on the novelty factor. Pretty much every track somehow echoes a long-gone song or melody. This makes you feel like Sherlock Holmes trying to escape Dr. Watson. You’re constantly backtracking and checking things. Which is a great way to get back into the blues groove, but it may not be what the good doctor ordered @ RMR.
Now, for those who think that Blues Revolution will be B.B. King reinvented, come back down to earth. True, you’ll get your fair share of Blues and Blues Rock. But the incursions into straight rock ‘n’ roll as in Howl Like The Wolf are just as tasty. You’ll find some really cool and slow-grinding groove emerging from substance abuse issues creatively called Gotta Quit Drinking. Or cornier relationship problems get their fair share in Headache, a track that proved to be quite a sturdy kicker.
Yet sadly, Blues Revolution remains easy fair, and sometimes a bit too easy. Deep enough to rock the mainstream but not necessarily a record for folks looking for some truly smoky blues fare. That said, however, Cirkus Prütz created an album that will deliver all those vibes, riffs from all corners of the Blues Rock universe, down to some Southern Rock vibes that almost made us grab that Bourbon. Almost.2) And all that valiantly sails on delicious riffs, beats to dream for, and some astounding solos that made us come back for seconds.
In other words, Blues Revolution still scored highly with our decidedly grouchy review committee. And that despite our aforementioned woes. It’s after all plain good blues and rock that truly hit our nostalgic nerve. So, come back with more anytime, Cirkus Prütz. The door’s wide open and our listening gear ready to go.