Indisputably danceable energy consumes Now
, an album that wastes no time presenting a band at ease in the rock ’n’ roll trenches. Frontman Bobby Lee Rodgers is a versatile guitarist who deftly transitions from fast jammy blues to mellow bongo folk. His band is tight, and one can easily imagine a live show packed with boogie-woogie dance-offs.
Unfortunately, trouble begins when words are added to the score. Rodgers’ voice, which is smooth and soothing on “Worlds Apart” and “Broken Home,” often takes a less comforting timbre. Landing somewhere near territory previously claimed by Rick James and Axl Rose, his prolonged, nasal emanations shake a listener out of the spell otherwise cast by The Codetalkers’ exemplary musicianship.
The opening track, “Ike Stubblefield,” em-bodies t
he strengths and flaws of the whole. The swinging rhythm attacks right off the bat, only to be diminished by sneering vocals: “Way up in Ohio, in 1953 / The clouds opened up in the sky-o.” In another song, “genie” is made to rhyme with “gasoline-y.”
Still, for a tipsy bar crowd, The Codetalkers are just the ticket, even if this album might not become the prized souvenir of a lively night out.
The CodeTalkers perform Saturday, May 5, at The Loft at 10 PM. $7.