One of the things I love most about this blogging thing is the increased random chance of stumbling across great bands. I love the random PR company emails I get on a daily basis, most are junk, but on rare occasion you’ll get turned on to something really good.
That’s how I came across Graveyard Lovers and had the chance to check out their upcoming debut album, Dreamers. The album as a whole is way more polished and mainstream oriented than I usually prefer, but impulsively I can’t help but like it. It’s got the emotional pull and abstractness characteristic of all great albums that frees it from the details of genre, mainstream knowledge, or artist.
Graveyard Lovers coin themselves typically as a “blues-based indie rock trio comprised of guitarist/singer Zach Reynolds, drummer Tricia Purvis and bassist Orion Wainer”. Lead singer Zach Reynolds hails from Louisiana and his southern blues charm is definitely tangible on the album. However, Reynolds’ background is highly, maybe perfectly, balanced with Tricia Purvis’s New York City rock repertoire of influence.
Dreamers doesn’t feel old school bluesy and it doesn’t sound like a Black Keys album either with a lot of extended “bow-bow-bow” boogie bass line [or drum lines, in the Black Keys case] heavy instrumental interludes. Bluesy elements are constrained to guitar riff hooks and lyrics presented in short form mainstream arrangements. Reynolds has a savory voice, a rough indie sort like Conner Oberst in the early Bright Eyes days with gravel in his throat or an indie version of Tom Petty [which ties in the southern rock thing a little better].
Dreamers floats between power rock and melancholy ballads. The album opener Manifesto, splits the dice as noisy hard rocking ballad about sticking up for your personal independence. Love and Hunger is a pure power rock song on the theme of the iconic two lost and lowly soles in love fighting to make a life in a hard world. See if you can’t help but chant the “Love and Hunger” vocal hook by the end of the song.
The title track of the album, Dreamers [which sadly doesn’t have a preview anywhere online] wraps up the diversity on this album that together, the first three songs present. Reynolds looses much of the gravel in this song and delivers a smooth modern rock song with a harmonica melody that adds that bit of southern warmth and charm. The album hits one of two of it’s softest points on From My Window, a song about disparity in the world. Gone Too Far delightfully brings back that harmonica to add a bit of extra drama to the story line of a drifting mess up.
Blessed Are The Ties That Bind most reflects Reynolds bluesy background with searing guitar riffs and hard drum breaks in a sexy romp. The album quickly transitions back to a modern rock format however, keeping only a bluesy guitar riff hook in When I Get Mine. Piedmont Blues is an airy grandiose song with a worldly feel that takes the liberty to include some solo guitar jams. It also keeps a steady driving rhythm that maintains the draw through out its entire 6 minutes, making it by far the longest song on the album.
After all this excitement, we reset back to the second soft ballad on the album, The Island that uniquely features a simple keys based melody. Nameless is another power rock song that harkens the style of Love and Hunger is faster punk rock based rhythm. You And Me, a well composed love song, consistently floats by in the slower ballad style found on this album and dumps us out into the closing song Working For The Company that also quells us rather than stirs us up again.
I get the haunting feeling Graveyard Lovers might be another band produced by the industry or at least adopted by it and not created from the “struggle” necessarily, but maybe that doesn’t always matter. A good album is a good album and this one is definitely solid rock that doesn’t sound much like anything else in the mainstream right now. Keep an eye out for when this finally hits the shelves, a date that is annoyingly TBA at the moment.