Left Lane Cruiser
Claw Machine Wizard
Ever fell headfirst down a flight of stairs, then had the staircase fell in on top you?
While I would certainly hope not, be fore-warned that giving a spin of Claw Machine Wizard, the latest offering from Left Lane Cruiser is highly-capable of leaving one in traction, just like the aforementioned tumble could.
Call it blues, call it punk, call it gutter-inspired rock-and-roll … whatever you call it, Claw Machine Wizard hits like a ton of bricks.
In a good way, of course.
But that's nothing new for the duo from Fort Wayne, Indiana.
For well over a decade now, Left Lane Cruiser (LLC) has been kicking butt and taking names, both on the bandstand and over the duration of seven exceptional albums for Alive Naturalsound Records.
The group has largely been a two-piece guitar/drum duo for most of its existence, save for 2015's Dirty Spliff Blues, when the lineup was expanded to three.
Now, we're back to frontman/guitarist/vocalist Freddy J Evans IV and drummer Pete Dio.
And we're also back to what LLC does best, which is deliver its own brand of Fat Possum-inspired, cranked up to 11, hit-you-in-the-midsection blues.
"Booga Chaka" is especially crushing with its overdriven slide guitar from Evans and rough-and-tumble tub-thumping contributed by Dio.
The album does have a couple of left turns (pardon the pun) on it, starting with the incredibly soulful "Lay Down." This tune sounds like a beautiful hybrid of Stax-era William Bell ran through a blender of mid-70s Grand Funk Railroad. It's extremely well done and definitely shows that Left Lane Cruiser is capable of doing more than simply peeling paint off the walls.
Evans touched on LLC's use of a wider palette on Claw Machine Wizard:
“There’s still a lot of signature LLC gut-bucket blues on the new record," he said, "But we’re constantly trying to expand the sound. I’ve always kept our foundation in blues and classic rock, but after a decade of making albums, eventually new flavors creep in. On the road we listen to a lot of James Brown, Funkadellic, Parliament, Charles Bradley and other soulful artists. Those kinds of sounds had a big influence on this record. I think in general this record is a huge departure from the previous LLC albums. We kinda refer to it as our soul record. There's a lot of different flavors on this one.”
As Evans mentioned, another thicket that the LLC camp has always had one foot in is classic '70s-era guitar rock. "Still Rollin'" fits that bill nicely and could have been a huge hit back in the days when Black Oak Arkansas roamed the earth.
All-in-all, Claw Machine Wizard is another out-of-the-park dinger for Left Lane Cruiser.
Highly recommended for thrill seekers and fans of good old earth-shaking blues-based rock-and-roll.
Check them out at: http://www.alive-records.com/artist/left...