The Black Crowes - Warpaint
Record Label: American Recordings
Release Date: March 3, 2008
Longevity in a band is something that is rarely found in today's music industry. Far too many bands have a shelf life of five years or less, releasing two albums at the most. Even if they do make it past that point, the odds that they are successful are slim to none. Well, after 19 years, The Black Crowes have accomplished both of those things. They have been hailed by publications such as Rolling Stone and featured on VH1 as one of the 100 best hard-rock acts.
I'd think that with a career like that, The Black Crowes should be getting a lot of respect at this point. However, the first time I heard about the album, it was not in a very positive light. It was when Maxim published a review of their album without even hearing it. Claiming that it was an "educated guess review," they gave the album a negative review. Well, now I'm here, and I'll be giving it a little more than an educated guess.
Before hearing this album, I wasn't quite sure what to expect. I had never heard more than a few songs by this band, and couldn't really figure out what a "blues-influenced hard-rock jam band" might sound like. On this album, it seems like the blues influence may have fallen a little more to the country side, the hard rock is mellower, and the jam band part of it doesn't seem to be much of a factor.
On the first listen to the album, it made an impression on me - and a very good one at that, from the first track, straight on through till the end. The album shows that there is a reason that they have been around for so long: they are talented, creative musicians. The songs that they write are catchy, yet there is almost no trace of pop on the album.
Musically, this album is one of the more diverse that have been released so far this year. As I said before, they draw from a vast range of genres and they utilize this very well, balancing each one out extremely well so that one doesn't overpower the other.
Chris Robinson's southern-tinged vocals rival the pipes of Jeff Tweedy (Wilco). His voice isn't smoothed out, and he has a very good grasp on what he's doing. The vocals don't distract from the instrumentation and the instrumentation doesn't overwhelm the vocals.
As an album, Warpaint is captivating, catchy, and creative. It's a record that makes you feel good when you are listening to it; it has an uplifting quality that seems to be missing in so much of today's music. In comparison to the most of the music today, The Black Crowes stand out, as they have combined their sensibilities in multiple genres to make an album prone to good first impressions.