Give It Back to You (Concord)
By Devon Wendell
Way too many rock fueled blues bands of today are still hell bent on copying Jimi Hendrix, Buddy Guy, Johnny Winter, Albert King, and Stevie Ray Vaughan but not Los Angeles’ own The Record Company (Chris Vos, guitar, lead vocals, harmonica, Alex Stiff, bass, guitar, vocals, and Marc Cazorla, drums, piano, vocals).
This trio is loud, raunchy, and wonderfully original. You can hear hints of The Stooges and Elmore James in places but they possess an energy and style that is instantly identifiable.
I first reviewed the band when they opened up for Buddy Guy at UCLA’s Royce Hall in August of 2015 and I thought they were easily the most exciting thing to happen to blues/rock in a long time. Their debut album Give It Back To You is further proof that they are a force to be reckoned with.
“Off The Ground,” “Don’t Let Me Get Lonely,”and “Got Me On the Move” sound like they were penned and recorded in some corner of hell. The sound is more punk blues than just rock blues. You won’t hear anything else quite like this.
The album isn’t overly produced. It gives you the feeling that you’re hearing these Los Feliz boys performing a late set in a skanky Sunset Strip dive. Yes, they’re that good.
“Rita Mae Young,” “Hard Day Coming Down,” “Turn Me Loose,” and “Feels So Good” showcase the band grabbing tightly onto some of the purest blues and rock traditions and then tossing them into a huge bonfire. Images of Bo Diddly in the midst of a deadly knife fight with Iggy Pop come to mind.
Chris Vos’s rough edged yet soulful vocals and Mississippi Delta driven slide guitar riffs are perfectly complimented by Alex Stiff’s menacing bass lines and Marc Cazorla’s funky, in the pocket drumming. This is what the White Stripes should sound like.The Record Company also sounds like they’re having fun all of the time. “Give It Back To You” is so simplistic, raw and sincere. Vos’s harmonica playing is brilliant without being overindulgent.
Vos’s vocals are reminiscent of the late great Skip James on “This Crooked City,” “but the gospel inspired arrangement represents the band’s own distinctly hypnotic sound. The album closes with the rollicking and funky “In The Mood For You” which would have the late John Lee Hooker shaking his hips in delight.
This album rocks and gives many of us some much needed hope that new sounds and energy can come out of both blues and rock n’ roll.
If you are not hip to The Record Company, you must get Give It Back To You when it is released on February 12th and you also must see them in a live setting when they roll into your town.
To read more posts, reviews and columns by Devon Wendell click HERE.