Sunday, September 20, 2009

Four Times Sound Razing

BLACK FRIDAY – “4” CD ’08 (Private, US) – Isn’t it always interesting when something has been going on right under your nose for years and you had no idea? I mean, for instance, your next door neighbor is a serial killer, has 75 bodies buried under his house and you don’t suspect a thing until the FBI brings in a dude with a front-end loader to uncover ‘em. “Gee, officer, he always seemed like such a nice guy.” Don’t you just hate when that happens? But it doesn’t always have to have that kind of negative feel. How about happening upon a disc by a band from your neck of the woods that you’ve never heard of before. You then find out it’s their 4th record in 23 years, all done right in the proximity of your fair city. Maybe it irks your ego a little bit, but the upshot of it is that it’s pretty cool. Such is the case with BLACK FRIDAY.

I happened to catch sight of this one on my hometown store’s “local” rack and the cover grabbed me. Between the title (a shocking one for a group’s 4th effort!) and the background, there was a nod to the Zeps. The $ 6 price made me say “yup” and next thing you know I was spinning it deep in the heart of Realm Central. What could I say to describe the sounds I heard? I’d have to call it a sort of jam-based rock with a kind of Americana-esque feel. The organ solo courtesy of guest-ing former member Kyle Hollingsworth in “Roll On” sucked me in and I kept listening. While Hollingsworth (also of the band String Cheese Incident) only appears on 3 cuts, there’s still plenty going on with BLACK FRIDAY to keep “4” turning. What I found myself really enjoying the more this record progressed were the rich, throaty vocals of Andy Belt. For some reason, while not exactly the same, something about this guy’s crooning makes me think of the legendary Lowell George (R.I.P.) of Little Feat fame. Listen to him in “Unforgiven” & “Slowly Kicking It.” Interestingly, as I dug on the first 3 songs on “4,” I was wondering a bit about guitarist Shawn Heming. Sure, he kicked up the riffing a little on track 2, “Do It Again,” but I was wondering if he’d step out in the lead department. Then, here came “Beat All” and Heming stretches out for nearly the entire 2nd half of the 5 ½ minute number, letting his sweet tone wash over the listener’s ears. For the rest of the album he works creamy, Strat-style leads into songs like “I Want You” and the aforementioned “Slowly Kicking It,” making this listener smile as the CD continued to turn. Gotta admit, “4” has been growing on me even more in repeated listenings. This is good music, deep, rich and full of feeling. It’s the kinda thing I can throw on at night after a hard day and really dig on it’s grooves. And, right under my nose, all along.

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