Nine Times Blue – Matter of Time (Renegade Recordings / City Hall) review
In a world where “melodic” and “rock” rarely come together anymore – there’s Nine Times Blue
There are some artists who enjoy flying in the face of current trends: at the height of New Wave, Brian Setzer fronted a rockabilly band, the Stray Cats; at the pinnacle of Progressive Rock, Eric Carmen led the Raspberries through four albums of Beatles’ inspired Power Pop. Add Kirk Waldrop and his band, Nine Times Blue, to the list. At a time when Rock music is either really angry or…nothing, his band has just released Matter of Time, a six-song EP filled with (gasp!) melody!
This disc is the followup to 2012’s Falling Slowly (read our review here), and what immediately sets it apart is the sound. These tracks seem to breathe a little more, giving them a more “live” feel. The band has a fascination with falling – their previous record led off with “Falling Slowly,” while this one begins with “Falling Into You.” The track begins with a cascading lead guitar from Greg King, pulls back for the verses, then features a great, harmony-filled chorus. They also know when to drop out instruments to great effect. Check out the 2:52 mark, where everything stops but the vocals and some sort of percussion that sounds like space age trash can lids.
The band has also reeled in some of the bombast of their last record, which puts greater emphasis on Waldrop’s singing and lyrics. That, combined with a consistent lineup, makes this a more cohesive record. “Matter of Time” features something that’s a lost art in music – a middle eight, which gives way to a wah wah drenched solo from King. “Reasons Why” is driven by an acoustic guitar, and King’s spacey fills, while “This Time” is a stomping rocker.
The disc ends with the creepy “Only Lonely (The Shovel Song)” where Waldrop sings of phone calls never returned and letters never read, before the lines “hope she likes my brand new shovel / shiny duct tape too.” Either way, I’m not sure this is going to end well.
The only drawback to Matter of Time is its length – six songs. On the upside, there’s not a bad song in the lot. Nine Times Blue have created a record that sounds great cranked up on the car stereo. Here’s hoping for a short length of time for their next release —Tony Peters