Orange County trio Idlewar are back following the success of their debut record Impulse, an album I had the privilege of listening to in 2016. The Southern Californian heavy blues trio release second album, Rite, via Off Yer Rocka Recordings on October 12th.
The guys have constantly worked, written and performed since their formation in 2014 and the first EP release, Dig In. Vocalist James Blake, drummer Peter Pagonis and guitarist Rick Graham continue evolving their hard rock blues sound. Let’s hear what concoctions Idlewar have brought to our ears in this latest offering.
A slow beating heart opens “Sullen Moon” and without notice Rick Graham comes in with a blues rock riff. If that isn’t enough to get a mouth to salivate wait until you hear James Blake’s powerful voice, a voice reminiscent of the Lord of rock, Chris Cornell. Rick Graham is a riff-meister; a connoisseur of an art form and “Break” shows this more so. There’s a quiet section around the middle of the song. It stops… but it’s a doozy. Rick gets deep down and dirty and this tune is catchy, something I realised after the song finished.
“Keep Your Word” the first single released from Rite, you can check the video at the bottom. “Sing Loud” is passive compared to previous tracks. Saying that, the tone and the vibe has the image of a pumping fist towards the sky. Pete Pagonis on drums opening “Come to Save” engulfed the feeling of Alice in Chains for me, James Blake’s vocals added a further touch of Alice… to these spidey senses.
Idlewar gather pace with “Panic”; its explosive sound embodies the flow of “Jesus Christ Pose” mixed with a bit of Black Sabbath. You cannot fault their guitar playing, drumming and that voice of James Blake. His voice hasn’t diminished one iota. “Caught” comes with a dark repetitive riff until Rick Graham just lets it out. You just can’t keep these things in. If you need to let it out then let it out and Mr Graham does this with… what’s the word? Aplomb, yeah aplomb is the word I shall use. To be honest, the guys just smashed it with this track.
Coming to the finish, their penultimate track “Hang” makes me think of the 1986 film The Lost Boys. A perfect number that would befit the fairground scene with Kiefer and the boys flying around doing what they do best. Touches throughout of Soundgarden, Mother Love Bone, Black Sabbath, Zeppelin and Clutch brings this album to a head with “You’re Gone”. A slow track that’s dark and menacing, it’s a waiter, not a chaser. The tune creeps around the graveyard and bides time for something to happen. It’s not an explosion, it’s a damn suspense horror movie.
Fear not readers, Idlewar return to the UK in early November for a tour with a date at the already sold out Hard Rock Hell XI and an appearance at the inaugural HRH Awards on Wednesday 8th.
Rite is out now