Robert Jon and The Wreck – and I’ll never tire of saying this on the site – are the best band around right now. I’ve said as much in the last few reviews I’ve done of their stuff. There’s a pertinent one here. Back in March, they released a record called “One Of A Kind” – a brilliant EP that they made with Don Was – and the first four tracks on “Ride Into The Light” are the ones that made that up.
In the review back in the spring, I spoke of the optimism and skill, and I wrote this: “They take a sound from the south – DBT, Skynyrd, and all the rest – and cut it through with some West Coast sunshine.”
I repeat that again, not because I am wallowing in an orgy of self-congratulation, but because that’s almost exactly what “West Coast Eyes” is in a nutshell. Their most recent single is also here. It’s a warm summer breeze, but it’s done with tenderness, “she’s got a story and a tattoo for every place she’s been,” sings Robert Jon Burrison, but when Henry James Schneekluth plays the slide guitar, it goes somewhere else.
The other three songs here – the ones we haven’t heard, if you will – though, underline and inform the opinion that RJATW is as good as it gets.
“Bring Me Back Home Again” is another where Schneekluth is at the fore (he’s a modern-day gun-slinger, the type of bloke who saw a million faces and rocked them all), but it’s the different strands of the band that most impress. New keysman Jake Abernathie plays a blinder here. His Hammond is perfectly done.
“Don’t Look Down” is making the live set, I’ll wager. A simple plea for the weekend, a simple plea for life itself, RJATW does that to you. They make things better. This is a rocker for those who need it, from those who understand, and need that 90 minutes onstage as much as you do. There’s even a bit in the middle, after the solo that they’ve built in for clapping, and the “na na na na” at the end? Man, it’s sheer glee. That’s all there is to it.
And just in case you thought I’d got through the whole review without saying it, here’s the token Allman Brothers reference. The title track has a double guitar melody to make them – and you – drool.
Yet, its words are a paean to rebirth. “You can live your whole life on the edge of a knife, so hold tight, let’s ride into the light.”
And those words, they are why Robert Jon And The Wreck matter. They are the ethos of the band. To listen to “Ride Into The Light” is to feel the end of the tunnel coming, to sense better times, to smile.
It is but another in the canon of a band that has a body of recent work that no modern band gets close to.