Robert Jon And The Wreck are, and we might as well say this from the outset, perhaps my favourite discovery of the last few years. Their “Last Light On The Highway” record began a love affair and on the last time I saw the band just a few weeks back, I said they “were the best band around right now”.
Nothing on “One Of A Kind” is about to change my mind.
What is interesting about it is that, rather in keeping with the classic, throwback nature of their sound (and their work ethic – I’ve seen three times since lockdown ended in 2021) is they don’t just release “albums”. No, this is the sort of band you can lose yourself in, one who releases outtakes collections, one off singles, or like this EP’s that gather all the strands together.
This one is special, though. It’s four tracks were cut at two legendary Studios. Don Was produced at Hensen Studios in Los Angeles (the same studio that gave us legendary albums including “Tapestry” by Carole King and “Blue” by Joni Mitchell, and many others) and Dave Cobb produced in Nashville at the Historic RCA Studio A, the same room famous for recording The Beach Boys, Chris Stapleton, Dolly Parton, The Monkees and B.B. King.
And it was done with to legendary producers. Don Was gets a pair, so does Dave Cobb. The list of bands they’ve worked with would take this review to write down – in truth it matters not. All that counts here is that they are working with RJATW.
The four tracks kick off with “Pain No More”. They’d started the show with it, and it rather exemplifies what they do. They take a sound from the south – Allman Brothers, Skynyrd and all the rest – and cut it through with some West Coast sunshine.
There’s an optimism here, but there’s more skill. And in Robert Jon Burrison, they have a man who was born to sing in a rock n roll band and was probably born with a cowboy hat on.
All of these are such that you feel like you’ve heard them before, but they still sound fresh. The ballad “Who Can You Love” – another they’d played the other Friday – is gentle, breezy and superbly paced and the title track is their anthem.
“Here we go again, back on the road again” sings Robert Jon, but if nothing else, this one shows that no one can play guitar better then Henry James. The slide work here is sensational.
They even manage to save the best for last. “Come At Me” dares you to take them on. Don’t bother. They’re in a better band than you. They’re in a better band than anyone right now. I stand by it.
You want to hear rock n roll played by a group that’s at the top of its game (and knows it)? Get this. It’s one of a kind.