Crafted in a studio secluded in Washington’s Cascade Mountains, the latest effort by rising bluesman Colin Lake confirms that traditional blues don’t have to be bland. The lyrics are still depressing as hell, but the extended jams hold nothing back and even venture into new territory for an aging genre.
A prime example: DJ Redi Jedi. On a few tracks, including a cover of Robert Johnson’s “Stop Breakin’ Down,” Jedi adds a scratch-n- sample backbone to Lake’s blues-infused sound.
The well-placed use of hip hop adds an intriguing layer to Bullet, but guitar solos and refrains carry the LP. That’s a good thing considering the vocals often get muddled down behind other elements. When Lake croons on “Mountain Side” that you will find him dead in the hills some day, he comes up less than convincing.
It’s a minor complaint considering the band’s stellar instrumentation. Lake and company—who won the 2007 Telluride Acoustic Blues Competition—keep their primary focus on their rambunctious arrangements. Clocking in at more than an hour, the album will take you on a long, worthy ride of modern blues. (Kelsey Bernius)
Colin Lake and Wellbottom play the Top Hat Saturday, April 12, at 9 PM. Cover TBA.