Saturday, October 27, 2012

La Futura correspondent review

Senor Volto offers his thoughts on "La Futura":


I will start by saying that I think LA FUTURA (LF) is a damn good album, and it fully meets my expectations.  It was good to read BFG’s track-by-track description about how the ten songs (excluding the bonus tracks) on the album came about, but it would have been nice to hear any morsel of information about the album from Dusty or Frank.  The music sounds really good on LF although I don’t agree with BFG about once said “a mixture of Tres Hombres and Eliminator”.  I think it’s more of a Mescalero/Rhythmeen/ Recycler/ Eliminator/XXX mashup with a couple of glances to the Pre-Eliminator stuff.  The album is more of a rock album than a blues album, but that’s OK.  I think the fans that were cast off by XXX and Mescalero will be reeled back in with this one. 

Musically, Billy’s guitar is outstanding as he shows us some new tricks, as well as quoting some of his old licks.  Also, his (excellent) slide is obvious on at least four songs and is really highlighted on Chartreuse and Breakdown.  The rhythm section is equally up for the task and sounds great.  Billy’s vocals sound very good as he has settled into the same voice we hear at live shows.  Dusty’s vocals continue to be a mystery.  At a show in May of this year, Dusty’s voice was way down in the mix on several songs, which seems to agree with how his voice is mixed on LF.  But then he rips it up on Drive By Lover.  The first four tracks (Texicali) are crammed full of stuff – guitars, overdubs and sound effects.  Maybe this was Rubin’s doing.  But the rest of the album has some “space” – one song has just one guitar track – that allows the band to breathe and play more as a trio.  It’s also cool how some of the songs have rough “jam style” endings (Lose, Lose You for example).  That said, I’m sure ZZ can blast away on any of these 12 tracks live.  Let’s hope 2013 has some more LF songs!

We heard leading up to the release that the band started with loads of CDs full of musical thoughts, which makes one think about the selection of songs on LF.  Were those the best 10 (or 12) songs?  We heard Dusty sing Future Blues again last year (sounded great), and it was said to be one of the working tracks for LF.  How come no Dusty lead vocal on the original 10 songs?  There were also teases of other tunes (Mexican?) that weren’t on LF.   Last comment - LA FUTURA is very good, but it won’t knock Rhythmeen out of my top spot.

I have made it a point not to read too many reviews, but I think the general fan response for LF is pretty good.  So, here are my track-by-track thoughts:

  1. I Gotsta Get Paid – Great opening number – sets the tone for the rest of the album.  Nice strong backup vocals from Dusty.  Overdubs galore.  Approved by the H-Town Hip-Hop crew.  ‘Nuff said!  Score = 10.

  1. Chartreuse – Keepin’ the pedal to the metal with this one.  The only blues shuffle beat on the album.  The song works great and features the best slide guitar on the original 10 tracks.  Score = 9.5.

  1. Consumption –Good song, but one point deduction because of its place in the track order.  Sounds too close to Chartreuse, but with a straight four beat, and is saved by some more nice slide work. Score = 8.5.

  1. Over You – This one has grown on me.  I like the “uplifting” chords at the end.  However, I think the song could do without the string synth – maybe a pedal steel, violin, mandolin (or nothing) instead.  Score = 9.

  1. Heartache in Blue – Chang Chang, it’s just the thang.  Has that “What’s Up With That” killer vibe.  This song would sound great even without the super harp (once again by James Harman).  Fuzzy guitar solo with phrasing that would make Albert Collins proud.  Score = 10.

  1. I Don’t Wanna Lose, Lose You – My personal favorite.  Straight-ahead rocker with a pounding rhythm section featuring Frank’s sledgehammer snare.  Two very tasty eight bar guitar solos.  Try to get this one out of your head!  Another one that could easily be done live (2013?).  Score = 10

  1. Flyin’ High – This one is controversial. The original version (that I prefer) sounds a lot more like ZZ than the one on the album.  The opening chords on the LF version sound just like AC/DC or even Journey.  That said, the LF version could easily be a big-hit crossover on country or pop radio stations.  Score = 7.5.

  1. It’s Too Easy Manana – Change of pace.  The first solo is a spacey delay-drenched twisting riff that would be right at home on a Pink Floyd song.  Would have liked the delay on the second solo as well. The “left turn” outro that says “Decision or Collision” to me, but I can’t help but wondering what the rest of that jam sounded like.  Score = 9.

  1. Big Shiny Nine – The double (or triple) entendre song.  Nuts and bolts – Smith, Wesson and Colts – great line!  Nice guitar fills and solos.  Again would like to hear more of the outro.  Score = 9.

  1. Have A Little Mercy – Kind of a letdown as the final (original) track.  The song just kind of fizzles out at the end.  Score = 8.5
Score = 91/100, Grade = A-

Extra Credit (Bonus Tracks)


  1. Threshold Of A Breakdown – Really good straight-up rocker song featuring the best slide work of all the tracks.  The rhythm guitar sounds like it was lifted from XXX.  Score = 10

  1. Drive By Lover – Cha Cha Cha!  Finally, a lead vocal from the Dust!  More screaming guitar from BFG.  The last note is an exclamation point providing a much stronger ending to the album than “Mercy”.  Score = 10

 Side Note – either of the bonus tracks would have been right at home on XXX.

Final Score 93 (111/120), Grade = A

1 comment:

  1. A+ review! I agree with you on all accounts. 99 out of 100 for this review Volto. I only docked you one point because it took you too long to get it to the masses! Great job my friend.