As far as rock bands go, more than a handful has a mandolin player. Perhaps a few others have a vocal percussionist or beatboxer. Baltimore’s The Bridge may be the only band to have one dude doing both. At the same time.
Kenny Liner’s bluesy mandolin riffs accentuated by pulsing spots of beatboxing make this eponymous album a rare listening experience. It may seem like a garish combination, but it finds a way to fit in perfectly with this band’s southern roots rock approach.
The style works best when the beatboxing is an underlying component, as with the album opener “Get Back Up.” The only time it doesn’t work is on “The Ballad of Clear Rock,” when Liner’s beats override vocalist Cris Jacobs and become a distraction to the song.
Although the quintet draws heavily from a broad palette of tried-and-true Americana, they do a remarkable job of interspersing more contemporary tidbits. More than anything, The Bridge does an excellent job of upholding—and expanding upon—the freewheeling and adventurous spirit of legendary southern rock predecessors like Little Feat and The Black Crowes. (James Laber)
The Bridge plays the Top Hat Monday, Oct. 22, at 10 PM. $5.